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EVELYN HARCOURT. 



A NOVEL. 



BY 



THE AUTHOR OF "TEMPTATION, OR, A WIFE's PERILS,' 
" THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES," ETC. 



4 
IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. L 



LONDON: 

HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER, 

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1847. 



F, Shoberl, Jan., Prioter to H.R.H. Prince Albert, Rupert Street, 









TO ONE 

WHOSE SINGULAR BEAUTY 

IS BUT A SLIGHT INDICATION OF 

A FAR MORE PERFECT DISPOSITION, 

THE FOLLOWING PAGES ARE DEDICATED 

WITH SINCERE AFFECTION 

BY 

THE AUTHORESS. 



EVELYN HAECOURT. 



CHAPTER I. 

She walks in beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies ; 

And all that's best of dark and bright 
Meets in her aspect and her eyes. 

Byron. 

One beautiful afternoon in April, as Lady 
Lochmaben was driving her bijou of a pony- 
carriage, with its cream-coloured ponies, know- 
ing little grooms, and all its aristocratic 
appurtenances, from Lady Truro's door in 
Grosvenor Square, an old-fashioned, heavy- 
looking travelling chariot rumbled up to it, 
which certainly presented as great a contrast 
to the miniature bauble whose place it pro- 
ceeded to occupy, as did the dusty, stumpy, 

VOL. I. B 



2 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

wizen-faced old man, denominated by courtesy 
the postboy, to the handsome, showy Comitess, 
with her profusion of ringlets, her splendid 
lace veil, and her long whip en parasoL 
Perhaps, Lady Lochmaben might be struck 
with this herself, for she honoured the car- 
riage and its occupants with a supercilious 
stare of some moments, before, with a single 
touch of her whip, she sent her thorough-bred 
ponies flying along, to the admiration of the 
passers-by. 

In the mean time, the new comers were 
proceeding to emerge from their old-fashioned 
vehicle ; and the very fine gentlemen of Lord 
Truro's establishment who condescended to 
wear his livery, grow fat, and sneer at most 
things for a certain sum yearly, were lazily 
assisting their exit. The first of the tra- 
vellers who emerged was a good-humoured 
looking maid, fat, fair, and forty, who, having 
first showered down a profusion of bread- 
crumbs from her lap, descended with consi- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 3 

derable emphasis upon the pavement, and 
then, having proceeded to give herself a shake, 
observed with a smile, that seemed directed 
to the majestic butler himself — " Well ! I am 
stiff!" 

'' Is Lady Truro within ?" inquired a sweet, 
clear, youthful voice. 

" My lady is at home, ma'am. Her lady- 
ship has been expecting you for an hour or 
more." 

" Must I see her directly ? " whispered 
Helen Eridge, as she rejoined her companion 
on the steps. " Had not you better go to 
her alone first ? I feel so much like an in- 
truder." 

But the hasty reply — " Nonsense, Helen ! 
you could not be so rude ! You are no more 
an intruder than I am !" was uttered with 
such vehement decision, that it seemed to 
settle the matter at once ; and the quiet Helen 
followed her less diffident companion through 
the hall and up^ the broad staircase without 

B 2 



4 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

further comment. In the space of a few mo- 
ments they were in a richly-furnished boudoir, 
opening into one of the most beautiful con- 
servatories in London, and in the presence of 
the admired and recherchee Lady Truro herself. 
Nothing could possibly be imagined more 
luxurious than this boudoir — nothing more 
tasteful than its decorations, except, perhaps, 
its fair inmate. It was hung with rose- 
coloured silk, over which clear white muslin 
was fluted. Mirrors encased in these dra- 
peries served to heighten the brilliant effect 
of the costly and rare objects the room con- 
tained. On the marble console table were 
vases of Sevres porcelain of enormous value ; 
other specimens, chiefly of that exquisite 
turquoise blue which is becoming every day 
more rare, were scattered about; whilst a 
marble statue of a child caressing a wounded 
dove, by a celebrated sculptor, irresistibly 
attracted the eye from all minor objects. 
Beyond, through the half open doors, might 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 5 

be caught a glimpse of a long suite of rooms, 
which were actually dazzling with the splen- 
did decorations peculiar to the time of Louis 
the Fourteenth, with those graceful cabriole 
chairs and sofas, and fine marqueterie tables, 
which so desperately put to shame our fright- 
ful modern furniture. And added to all this 
— to all that could dazzle the eye and charm 
the fancy — came the sweet breath of flowers 
from the adjoining conservatory, in the midst 
of which hung a lamp of the most exquisite 
shape and workmanship. In truth, it resem- 
bled a fairy palace ; and it might well seem 
one to the two youthful strangers who now 
beheld it for the first time. 

Lady Truro, a beautiful and graceful per- 
son, rose as they entered, from the sofa, on 
which she had been reclining. She welcomed 
them with the utmost condescension, and was 
all politeness and smiles. She was sorry and 
glad just at the proper times, and about the 
proper things; expressed becoming interest 



6 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

respecting their journey and posthorses; hinted 
that she had stayed at home purposely to re- 
ceive them; hoped that they would not be 
too much fatigued to dine down stairs and be 
introduced to Lord Truro, who had made a 
point of dining at home for the purpose ; and 
begged that they would consider themselves 
completely chez elles, and make whatever use 
of the servants they pleased. " Would they 
like to have Deschamps now — her own maid ? 
Deschamps was no doubt within, and could be 
sent for immediately." 

Helen murmured a timid refusal; but 
Evelyn, to whom Lady Truro appeared chiefly 
to address herself, was able to answer, with 
little or no confusion of manner, that " they 
wished for no Deschamps. Mrs. Hart, the 
maid they had brought with them, would be 
quite able to do all they required." 

And Evelyn turned to admire the exquisite 
Murillo which had been given to Lord Truro 
lately during his Spanish excursion, with none 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 7 

of that feeling of overwhelming shyness which 
was oppressing her more fearful companion. 
She felt perfectly able to look about her, and 
take note of every object ; and to her there 
seemed nothing in the smallest degree calcu- 
lated to inspire awe in the high-bred but 
peculiarly feminine creature before them. 

This absence of timidity was in a manner 
natural to Evelyn. But there is something 
very encouraging in the consciousness of 
beauty ; and Evelyn Harcourt was as beauti- 
ful a creature as ever illumined a visionary's 
dream, or inspired a poet's verse. Hers was 
indeed glorious beauty, the more striking from 
its peculiar character. There w^as something 
Asiatic in her magnificent eyes; something 
almost regal in her lofty brow, and graceful, 
swan-like throat. Her complexion was of that 
clearest olive, so lovely, yet so rarely to be 
met with in this country ; her features were 
exquisitely moulded ; the mouth in parti- 
cular, with its " short upper lip " and pout- 



8 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

ing under one, was a model in itself; and the 
intellectual expression of her countenance be- 
tokened a mind of no ordinary stamp. There 
was something commanding in the tone of 
her beauty, in the very glance of her eye, 
which struck one at first sight ; it was not to 
be mistaken. She was a being that must ex- 
ercise a powerful influence over those within 
her sphere — she was not one to glide through 
life quietly and unobserved. Those dark, 
lustrous eyes might sparkle now with joy and 
eager anticipation, but there would come a 
day when their beauteous mirrors might re- 
flect back the fires of passion, and many a 
fierce and strong emotion trouble those serene 
depths ! To a being like her, one whose very 
countenance was full of the loftiest and most 
impassioned poetry, Love must come; and 
what might not Love bring in its train ! 

Helen Eridge was altogether a different 
creature. Slight, and rather below the com- 
mon height, there was nothing in her appear- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 9 

ance at all calculated to attract observation, 
and she herself was little disposed to seek it. 
She was pretty, certainly; with soft, dark, 
gray eyes, and a fresh, English complexion ; 
but she was so accustomed to be overlooked 
ill the presence of her more lovely companion, 
that she was little, if at all, aware of the per- 
sonal charms she really possessed. Evelyn 
was so beautiful ! so surpassingly beautiful I 
Who could look at any other, whilst Evelyn 
was by ? — It must be confessed, that very few 
did ; and on the present occasion Lady Truro 
was not one of the few. Her attention was 
completely engrossed by the magnificent crea- 
ture before her, so far more beautiful than 
any description had led her to expect; and 
poor Helen, with her retiring manner and un- 
pretending appearance, w-as in that fragrant 
boudoir almost as though she did not exist ; 
whilst Evelyn had not been there five minutes 
before the heart of Lady Truro, such as it 
was, had opened to her, and visions of innu- 

b5 



10 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

merable proposals which such beauty must 
command were floating before the dazzled 
vision of the lady of the mansion. 

" Look ! look, Helen!" cried Evelyn, seizing 
her companion's hand, and eagerly drawing 
her into the conservatory, whilst at the same 
moment she untied the strings of her own 
cottage bonnet, and by a rapid movement 
divested herself of it, thereby disclosing to 
view a head exquisitely formed as that of a 
statue, round which the thick masses of jet 
black hair were gracefully but almost care- 
lessly wound. " Is not this delicious ? it re- 
minds me of La Butte." 

" La Butte ! and where is that ?" inquired 
Lady Truro, as she cast an eye of mingled 
admiration and envy upon the Spanish-looking 
beauty before her. 

" Oh ! a place near Naples, where we passed 
some weeks ; but so beautiful ! so beautiful ! 
And it had a conservatory like this, only much 
larger. See, Helen, what a cactus! — Oh, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 1 

Lady Truro, how fortunate you are to pos- 
sess such a paradise, and in the heart of Lon- 
don !" 

" It is not a very clean paradise, as you 
may perceive," replied Lady Truro, laughing, 
and pointing to the flakes of soot, which, 
wonderful to say, respect not even the aristo- 
cratic conservatories of Grosvenor Square. 
" These plants have to be changed every 
week; they would soon die here...." She 
paused, arrested by the look of consternation 
which Evelyn's face assumed. 

" Changed ! oh, how sad ! I was hoping 
to have the care of these flowers — I had those 
at La Butte ; and I grow so fond of flowers 
— so fond ! But if they are changed ..." 

There was something so foreign in her 
gesture and manner as she uttered these 
words with almost childish simplicity, that it 
seemed wonderful she should speak such pure 
English. But there was certainly nothing 
English in either her manner or appearance, 



12 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Still less in the perfect ease, the singular 
grace, that accompanied every movement, 
every gesture — a grace as unstudied as her . ,r -c 
expressions. 

" What a magnificent creature !" thought 
Lady Truro to herself, as she repaired to her 
own room to dress for dinner, after having 
condescended to accompany her young guests 
to theirs, in order, as she said, to satisfy her- 
self that they had been made really comfort- 
able. ** She will indeed create a sensation ! 
There is nothing in London to be compared 
to her." 

x\nd — " ^^^lat an amiable person Lady 
Truro seems !" was the remark of Evelyn to 
her companion, as she closed their door. " I 
am sure I shall love her so much !" 

Whilst Helen paused a moment before she 
replied, thoughtfully — 

" She is pretty and pleasing, certainly ; 
but I should think her worldly." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 13 



CHAPTER II. 

He learn'd his heart's first love to smother, 
And — he is wedded to another. 

Prowse. 

And such is human life at best — 

A mother's, a lover's, the green earth's breast; 

A wreath that is formed of flowerets three — 

Primrose, and myrtle, and rosemary — 

A hopeful, a joyful, a sorrowful stave — 

The cradle, the bridal-bed, and the grave. 

Neale. 

We are reconcil'd. — Let him not ask our pardon : 

The nature of his great offence is dead, 

And deeper than oblivion do we bury 

The relics of it. 

Airs Well that Ends Well. 

Evelyn Harcourt was an orphan. Her 
father, the younger son of a country gentle- 
man of very small fortune, had been sent into 
the army at an early age, and informed, \vith 
that candour with which unwelcome truths are 



14 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

very frequently imparted, that his father had 
no fortune to give him, and that consequently 
he must carve it out for himself with his sword. 
Now, he had all the disposition in the world to 
do so, but it is self-evident that, in order to 
carve out anything, there must be something 
to carve upon or through ; and, although in 
his case the implement was not wanting, any 
more than the disposition to use it, the oppor- 
tunity was ; and, consequently, the prodigies 
of valour of which his affectionate mother had 
so often dreamed that he would prove the hero, 
never assumed any shape, except in the visions 
of her fond fancy. Of all the unlucky men 
in the army, (and it must be confessed they 
are not a few) he was one of the most un- 
lucky. At thirty, he was a captain still, and 
with little chance of ever rising higher. — Yet 
at thirty he was not only anxious to marry, 
but was actually engaged to the pretty but 
penniless daughter of a country gentleman in 
Wales. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 15 

His father was exceedingly indignant. In 
his opinion, no younger son ought to marry 
at all ; much less to dream of marrying with- 
out money. Mr. Eridge, the young lady's 
sire, too, was averse to the union on his daugh- 
ter's account ; but he, being an affectionate 
parent, whose object was not the wealth nor 
aggrandizement of his children, but their hap- 
piness, becoming convinced that that of his 
daughter was really bound up in Captain Har- 
court, at length gave his consent to the match, 
provided the young couple would agree to wait 
for the space of one twelvemonth, at the end 
of which time she would have attained her 
twentieth year. To this condition they were 
obliged to consent ; and Captain Harcourt, 
having obtained some months' leave of absence, 
set off with a rich brother officer to Italy, 
there to while away, as he best might, the 
tedious moments that must separate him from 
his betrothed. 

The year passed away, and with the new 



16 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

one came strange alterations to some, strange 
sorrows to others. The gentle girl remained 
constant and true, but he was false ! He 
was not only changed in heart, but actually- 
wedded to another ! 

At first, she would not believe it. She 
struggled against every proof of his betrayal — 
she refused to listen when they were repeated 
to her. But, at length, even the trustingness 
of her faith was overcome, and, once con- 
vinced of the bitter truth, she had no alterna- 
tive but to humble herself beneath the blow, 
and seek to derive comfort from that saddest 
of all convictions to those who have really 
loved — the unworthiness of the loved one. 

The person whom Captain Harcourt had 
married was a Neapolitan lady, by whose sin- 
gular beauty he had been speedily captivated. 
The acquaintance had begun with no sinister 
intention on his part. The idea of abandoning 
his betrothed had never even entered his mind, 
but by degrees the fascination of the beautiful 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 17 

Italian had bound him with a spell he found 
it more and more impossible to break through; 
and when at length he discovered that he was 
beloved by her with that intensity and ardour 
peculiar to her own glowing clime, he could 
resist no longer. He married her without 
even applying to his father for a consent, 
which he well knew would be indignantly 
refused, and was in consequence sternly for- 
bidden by that father ever to appear in his 
presence again. 

The beautiful Evelina, an orphan without 
money, and almost without relations of her 
own, followed him to England, and, with more 
than the enduring tenderness of an English 
wife, accompanied him through all his wan- 
derings, submitting to the hardships and trials 
of a position so new to her^ without even a 
murmur, and making herself the admiration 
of every one in the regiment. There was no 
one, not even the commonest subaltern's wife, 
not even a soldier of her husband's company. 



18 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

who had not a good word to say for the beau- 
tiful Mrs. Harcourt — a smile to bestow upon 
her loyely little girl. And when she died, at 
length — died in giving birth to a son, who 
survived her only a few hours — the feeling of 
deep and universal sorrow that prevailed 
proved how sincerely the stranger had been 
beloved. 

From the hour of her death, her husband 
became an altered man. She had been all in 
all to him. Cut off from all intercourse with 
his own connexions, disappointed in his hopes 
of advancement in his profession, he had turned 
to her as the only interest left to him in life. 
In her he had ''garnered up his heart," audit 
had never occurred to him that he could lose 
her. Such an idea would have seemed to him 
too dreadful to be entertained. 

Much kindness was shown him by his bro- 
ther officers. All sympathized with his loss — 
all mourned as for a relation of their own ; 
and the memory of that beautiful Italian was 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 19 

long and tenderly cherished by her English 
friends. 

After her death, the little Evelyn became 
doubly the pet and favourite of all. With 
her, life opened joyously indeed, and her 
childish path was gay with flowers. Scarcely 
ever did a harsh word or impatient reprimand 
meet her ear ; epithets of tenderness, terms of 
praise and of endearment, were the sounds to 
which she was accustomed. 

A gentle and beautiful child is an object so 
universally engaging, that scarcely any one, 
however selfish or morose, can refuse a word or 
look of kindness to such a little being. And 
it must have been a hard nature that could 
scowl upon the'innocent glance of those large, 
earnest eyes, or refuse a caress to the exqui- 
site little cheek upturned to meet it. 

At length. Captain Harcourt fell ill, and 
for a time it seemed but too probable that the 
poor little girl would lose her only remaining 
parent. He rallied, however ; and as soon as 



20 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

he was conscious of the least symptom of re- 
turning strength, he became importunate for 
leave of absence, to try, as he said, the effect 
of travelling about with his child. 

By rapid journeys — far too rapid for one 
in his weak state — he travelled into Wales ; 
and, after many years, once more found him- 
self beneath the roof of the man whose daugh- 
ter he had so cruelly injured. And, when 
the kind-hearted Mr. Eridge beheld his altered 
countenance and listened to his hollow voice, 
entreating forgiveness for the sorrow he had 
inflicted, will it be wondered at that that for- 
giveness was not denied, and that he was once 
more welcomed within those hospitable walls 
as he had been of yore ? 

Mr. and Mrs. Eridge were the most ex- 
cellent couple that can be imagined. They 
seemed to exist but to do good and to love 
one another. Simple and unpretending as 
the peasantry that surrounded them, and by 
whom they were held in the most profound 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 21 

veneration, they were as incapable of har- 
bouring malice or resentment themselves as 
they were of wilfully occasioning such feelings 
in others. They had felt bitterly the afflic- 
tion of their child at the time, it is true, and 
had thought, not without deep indignation, of 
the conduct of its author; but, when she had 
married two years after a cousin of her own, 
and they saw that the former wound was 
healed, and that she was happy once more, 
they forgot the man who had wronged her ; 
or, if they thought of him at all, it was with 
a benevolent hope that he might be as happy 
as she was. They knew nothing of the death 
of his wife ; indeed, they w^ere altogether ig- 
norant what had become of him. But, at the 
time of his unexpected arrival at Oriel, their 
hearts were more than usually open to tender 
and generous impressions. Their daughter had 
lately died — died after nursing her husband 
through that saddest of all diseases — con- 
sumption ; and all they now possessed of their 



22 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

darling was the little orphan girl she had left, 
who was just one year younger than Evelyn 
Harcourt. It may well be supposed, there- 
fore, that they could not again behold the 
man their Helen had formerly loved, so sad- 
dened and altered too, without strong emo- 
tion ; and with their own simple kindness, 
they welcomed him and his little one as 
friends. 

And when, soon after, poor Captain Harcourt 
again fell ill, they nursed him with the ten- 
derness of parents, and soothed the agonizing 
anxiety of his dying moments by a solemn 
assurance that they would cherish and pro- 
tect his child— that their home should hence- 
forward be her home, and that she should be 
to them as a daughter. 

And with a rare and beautiful fidelity this 
promise was kept. The little Evelyn grew 
up under their roof — the sharer alike of the 
pleasures, the advantages, and the affection 
they bestowed upon their own granddaughter. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 23 

Their hearts knew no difference, and their 
conduct evinced none. 

But, as Evelyn Harcourt advanced in years, 
her mind expanded with singular rapidity; 
and she began to feel an insurmountable de- 
sire to penetrate beyond the bounds of her 
wild Welsh home. She pined with an earnest 
and intense longing to behold the bright land 
of her mother's birth — the glorious sun-lit 
skies of Italy. The girl was more than half 
Italian in her nature, and she had all the en- 
thusiastic love for that classic land which is 
so universal amongst its children. 

The kind-hearted old couple sympathized 
with her wish, for they thought it but natural 
that she should long to see the spot of her 
mother's birth and early recollections ; and, 
for the mere purpose of indulging her desire, 
they actually quitted their home, which they 
had not left for many years, and cheerfully 
entered upon the mighty undertaking (for 
such it was to them) of a journey to Italy. 



24 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

As might be supposed, the adventures of 
such a party, composed of individuals, each 
more simple-minded and unsophisticated than 
the others, were innumerable, and some of 
them not a little ludicrous ; and many were 
the laughs they occasioned, many the impo- 
sitions practised upon " ces pauvres Anglais'' 
But still they went on their way, bearing the 
same benevolent and happy hearts into a 
foreiofn land that had animated them in their 
own, and winning esteem by the influence of 
their genuine worth and simple kindness. 

There are some Italians at Naples who still 
recollect the good old pair who used to take 
their daily walk, arm in arm, along the 
Chiaja, looking so thoroughly English and 
respectable, and so evidently devoted to one 
another. They had positively grown so much 
alike, that they might have been taken for 
brother and sister. Time indeed had scarcely 
altered either of them in the sight of the 
other ; he was still to her the Charles of her 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 25 

first, only love ; and in his eyes she was 
scarcely less fair than when he had taken her 
to his bosom years ago — his blushing, blue- 
eyed Mary ! 

They remained two years at Naples — two 
years of happiness to Evelyn, whose improve- 
ment in every respect during that time was 
almost magical. She associated with some 
few Italians who had been friends of her 
mother (for the memory of that mother was 
still tenderly cherished at Naples), and here 
the natural talent, the beautiful poetry of the 
girl's mind, began to develop themselves. She 
had a great disposition for music ; she com- 
posed, with the utmost facility, both music 
and English poetry, and possessed the rare and 
enviable poAver of improvisation. When ex- 
cited, and entering fully into her subject, her 
performance was really extraordinary, not so 
much from the power or genius of the verses 
themselves, as from the harmony of the versi- 
fication, its rapidity, and the exquisite melody 

VOL. I. C 



26 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of the acompaniment. This talent she m- 
herited from her mother, who had possessed 
it in a supereminent degree. 

Evelyn was now eighteen, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Bridge were meditating their return 
home, when a letter arrived from the Mar- 
chioness of Truro, a first cousin of Evelyn's, 
inviting her to spend the ensuing season with 
her in London. Lady Truro had made one 
or two overtures of kindness before to her 
young cousin, and she was the only one of 
Evelyn's paternal family who had done so. 
The Eridges had heard her spoken of at 
Rome, where she had spent a winter, as a 
most amiable and fascinating person, who, 
although handsome and much admired, was 
unexceptionable in her conduct. Evelyn was 
all eagerness to be allowed to accept her in- 
vitation, and what could Evelyn ask that they 
could refuse her ? — The permission she longed 
for was granted, at length ; not without con- 
siderable hesitation indeed, for these excellent 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 27 

old people feared they knew not what from 
the contamination of the world, and the adu- 
lation her beauty must command ; still, they 
felt it was but right she should see something 
more of that world than could be viewed from 
the Elizabethan windows of their own dear 
Oriel ; and to enter it under such auspices 
was an advantage they were not justified in 
refusing for her. They wrote, therefore, to 
accept Lady Truro's offer for their protegee ; 
and Evelyn wrote also to accept it for herself. 
But she contrived to introduce so much about 
Helen and her own reluctance at parting from 
her into her letter, that Lady Truro, who was 
really good-natured in a certain way, wrote 
back to invite Helen also for a few weeks to 
Grosvenor Square, till Evelyn should have 
become not only acquainted with her hostess, 
but have learned to feel quite at ease with 
her. 

The fact was. Lady Truro had heard from 
some friends who had been lately at Naples 

c 2 



28 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

reports of the great beauty and musical talents 
of Evelyn Harcourt ; and she justly considered 
that to befriend so attractive a creature could 
do herself no possible harm, and might do 
the poor girl very considerable good. If her 
beauty were really what it was represented to 
be, she must prove an ornament to any society, 
and to introduce her into the fashionable 
world of London could only entail additional 
eclat upon herself. Evelyn might marry well 
too ; — and Lady Truro, although her own 
position by marriage was so pre-eminent, was 
not so plentifully provided w^th aristocratic 
connexions herself, as to consider with in- 
difference the idea of a cousin of her own 

becoming Duchess of R or Countess 

of D ! 

Although she had heard much of Evelyn's 
beauty and talent, however, she was far from 
realizing in her own mind what either actually 
was. She had pictured to herself an un- 
formed country girl, handsome and clever 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 99 

indeed, but lamentably deficient in ton, and, 
above all, in that indefinable grace and polish 
which, in general, nothing but habitual inter- 
course with really good society gives. She 
anticipated no small trouble and difficulty in 
teaching the young ideas of one who, till now, 
had existed in a remote corner of Wales, and 
who could have no possible experience of the 
world — no savoir vivre whatever. She for- 
got, perhaps, that, until she married, she too 
had lived always in thecountry ;— and yet, in 
how incredibly short a time had association 
with men of a certain set like her husband 
and his friends, and the influence of the 
society to which her marriage had at once 
raised her, taught her all that was necessary 
to keep her, not only afloat, but actually 
buoyant in the uncertain and treacherous sea 
of fashionable opinion ! Who now so inva- 
riably approved on all points as the lovely 
Lady Truro ? — who more frequently quoted ? 
— who more universally admitted to " con- 



30 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

naitre son monde f " But then she was blest 
with unusual tact and cleverness — at least, 
she thought so — and perhaps she was not very 
far wrong ! — 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 31 



CHAPTER III. 

He was a mortal of the careless kind, 
Who chose to go where'er he had a mind, 
And never dreamed his lady was concerned. 

Lord Byron. 

...well dressed — well bred — 
Well equipaged. 

COWPER. 

Lord Truro was good-natured, good-look- 
ing, and extravagant. He had fallen despe- 
rately in love with the pretty Barberina Har- 
court, the only daughter of a poor Yorkshire 
Squire, whom he had met at Doncaster Races ; 
and, having no one to control him, no one's 
consent to obtain but his own, he had speedily 
proposed, and been of course yet more speedily 
accepted. At first, they were not unhappy 
together, that is, when they were together, — 
for they were much more frequently apart. 
He was on the Turf, and he was constantly 



3^ EVELYN HARCOURT. 

making excursions to Melton, and other places 
where it was not his pleasure that she should 
accompany him ; and, when they were in 
London, his pursuits, his clubs, and the society 
of his roue friends, with certain other inter- 
ests, so engrossed him, that he found little 
time to bestow upon his wife. But, with re- 
gard to this, as well as many other things, she 
had very wisely pris son parti. He was liberal 
to her ; he allowed her perfect freedom in all 
ways, and she felt bound to do the same by 
him. Her marriage had not been one of love, 
but of ambition ; and the position to which 
it had raised her had amply gratified the 
latter passion ; she could, therefore, afford to 
dispense with the former. In the mean time, 
her own conduct, and her demeanour in so- 
ciety, were unexceptionable. Admired and 
feteed as she was, not the most censorious 
person could find a word to say against the 
beautiful Lady Truro. Nobody was more 
fond of, nobody more eager to attract, general 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 83 

admiration, but she invariably discouraged 
any particular display of it ; and, though some 
people called her proud, and a great many 
exceedingly heartless, yet every one was 
ready to admit that, considering Lord Truro's 
shameful neglect of her, and his excesses of 
all kinds, which were too notorious for her 
not to be aware of them, there really was no 
small merit in her unexceptionable conduct ; 
and that few women, under her circumstances, 
would have behaved half so well. 

Lady Truro was, in fact, a person capable, 
under more favourable ones, of becoming an 
amiable, perhaps even a superior character. 
But there is something so debasing in per- 
petual intercourse with the fashionable world, 
properly so called, especially when its objects 
are made the principal ones in life, that 
the tone of every mind must end in being 
lowered by it. A life of perpetual excite- 
ment, at best of a frivolous kind, often 
worse than frivolous — the impossibility of 

c 5 



34 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

anything like leisure or quiet reflection — the 
constant competition — the jealousy — the un- 
due importance attached to those adventitious 
advantages which we know in the sight of 
God to be of none — all these cannot fail to 
affect, more or less, those who are exposed to 
them ; though some few who bear about with 
them the charm of a principle that is above 
the world may be able to view its follies with 
regret, without partaking in their intoxication. 
But such instances are rare. 

In a few days, Evelyn Harcourt was com- 
pletely domesticated in Grosvenor Square, 
and there seemed every prospect that Lady 
Truro and she would become bosom friends. 
The young girl was enchanted with everything 
around her. To her the whole world seemed 
bright and happy, for her spirit was full of hope 
that had never yet known disappointment; 
enthusiasm that had never yet been chilled. 
Experience with her had hitherto been only joy, 
and she looked on all things with enchanted eyes. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 35 

Ah ! how happy, how beautiful, is this 
freshness of the spirit ! Why does it disappear 
so soon ? Why does a mist come over all that 
seemed bright and pure before ? Or, at least 
why, whilst yet possessing it, are we so un- 
conscious of the treasure ? 

In the mean time, Helen Bridge gazed around 
with a soberer eye. She had more leisure, 
indeed, for quiet observation ; fewer dazzling 
circumstances to obscure her judgment. In 
this house, where her companion was so cor- 
dially welcomed, her own presence seemed to 
be in a manner forgotten. Lady Truro was 
polite, indeed, when they met ; kind even, as 
far as it was in her nature to be, to one so 
wholly uninteresting to herself; and Evelyn 
was tender and affectionate as ever whenever 
they were together ; — but Evelyn's time was 
now so much taken up with Lady Truro, that 
all quiet intercourse between the girls seemed 
to have ceased. 

Helen felt sad at heart ; sad to think that 



36 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

the friendship of years should so soon be in- 
terrupted — for interrupted she saw it must 
be. Evelyn would soon be immersed in new 
objects, new interests ; the attractions of the 
world would have their weight, and the com- 
panion of her childhood would most probably 
be forgotten ! Poor Helen ! She tried hard 
to accustom herself to this idea, repeating to 
herself constantly that it was only natural — 
only what was to be expected in the common 
course of events ; but still she could not re- 
concile herself to the prospect. The tears 
would spring to her eyes when she thought of 
Evelyn estranged from her, meeting her again 
with an altered heart, perhaps even a patro- 
nizing manner, like Lady Truro's ; for, in spite 
of Evelyn's incessant eulogiums and enthu- 
siastic admiration of her cousin, Helen still 
thought that cousin worldly, and her manner 
somewhat chilling. 

Notwithstanding Helen's timidity and dif- 
fidence, her observations were acute, and her 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 87 

judgment remarkably clear. Utterly ignorant 
of the world and its vices, she yet had shrewd- 
ness and penetration sufficient to enable her 
to foresee many evils for Evelyn in the cir- 
cumstances that surrounded her. She disliked 
the tone of Lord Truro's conversation, and 
the flippant manner in which he seemed to 
insinuate, more than openly express, ridicule at 
everything noble and good. He did not ac- 
tually laugh at religion, indeed, but she felt 
sure that he was not deterred from doing so 
by any religious principle or feeling of his 
own. Little did he suppose, as he occasionally 
addressed a remark to the silent girl, who 
seemed too listless and supine to care even 
about the favourite at Ascot, that she was 
internally making very accurate observations 
upon his character, and thinking to herself 
that not even to be a Marchioness, with all 
appliances and means to boot, could she be 
happy with a man whom she could not re- 
spect. 



38 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

And yet Lord Truro was good-natured; 
and he had taken quite a fancy to Evelyn 
Harcourt, for "she had some spirit — some 
sense ! In the first place, she was so d — 1-sh 
handsome ! she had a better figure even than 
Nina's, and her eyes were positively splendid. 
Then she had declared she was dying to go to 
Ascot ; and she had gone into raptures about 
his new cab horse ! — There was really some 
sense in Evelyn Harcourt !" 



"Oh, Helen ! is that you?" cried Evelyn, 
as her friend entered her room one morning — 
a room adjoining Lady Truro's dressing- 
room — " I am so glad you are come ! — Look 
at my dress ! is it not lovely ? — a present of 
dear Lady Truro's !" 

" Beautiful ! — and that is for the King's 
ball?" 

" Yes ; won't it be charming ? How I 
wish you were going too !" 

" Lideed, so do not I, dearest Evelyn. I 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 39 

have no wish to go ; and by that time I shall 
be far away — far away from you !" — 

" Far away ! how ? where ? You are not 
going yet ?" 

" On Tuesday. I have written to grand- 
mamma to say that I shall set out on Tues- 
day." 

" Oh, Helen, you don't say so !" cried 
Evelyn, suddenly throwing down her beautiful 
dress on the bed, with an utter disregard to 
the delicate trimmings she had almost feared 
to touch the instant before. " What shall I 
do without you ? — ^you will not go !" 

And the large dark eyes filled with 
tears, as she threw her arms round Helen's 
neck. 

*' Yes, dearest," said Helen, returning her 
caress with emotion, " I must go, indeed. I 
am wanted at home, you know, and here you 
will have plenty to occupy and amuse you 
without me. I am only in the way ; I feel it 
more every day. Lady Truro is very kind, 



40 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

but I am sure she wishes me gone. It is as 
evident as possible." 

" How can you say so, Helen ? — it is not 
like yourself. You are quite prejudiced 
against Lady Truro — I cannot think why." 

" Indeed I am not. I like her for loving 
you, but... in short, we will not discuss it, but 
I have made up my mind to go on Tuesday, 
and I am sure I am right in my decision." 

Evelyn sat down, and burst into tears. '* I 
shall have no pleasure in anything when you 
are gone," sobbed she. 

These tears were balm to Helen's heart. 
They showed that at present at least Evelyn's 
was unchanged. 

** You will promise still to love me, and 
often write to me," said she. " All these fine 
people interest me very little for themselves, 
I confess, but, as connected with you, they 
will become interesting. You will not let 
them estrange you from me, my Evelyn — you 
will still trust me as heretofore ?" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 41 

" Oh, Helen, my sister, my darling ! do not 
talk so ! — Estranged ! As if I ever could be 
estranged from you !" 

" They say the world makes great changes, 
Evelyn ; but if it should make you selfish or 
cold-hearted, it would spoil a beautiful nature. 
Be on your guard, however; and, above all, 
do not let any one laugh you out of your love 
for what is good. Think of our dear parents 
—of their goodness, their pride in you ; and 
how they have ever encouraged us both to 
love what is noble, and simple, and pure. 
Alas ! they would have little in common with 
such a world as this ! I sometimes think, if 
they could suddenly be transported here — into 
this fine house — among all these fashionable 
people..." 

" They would be quizzed, I am afraid !" 
said Evelyn, mournfully. 

" They would ; — despised, with all their 
goodness !...But then, Evelyn, I remember the 
end !...T\iQXQ must be an end for all; — and, 



42 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

supposing it to be satisfactory now to fritter 
away one's life as these people seem to me to 
be doing, it must be unsatisfactory to look 
back upon afterwards !" 

" I think I shall return to Oriel," said 
Evelyn, thc^ughtfuUy. 

She paused — and, half turning round, sur- 
veyed her dress — 

"To be sure, Lady Truro has been very 
kind... very kind — and I am sure she loves 
me..." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 43 



CHAPTER IV. 

Round her she made an atmosphere of life : 
The very air seemed lighter from her eyes — 
They were so soft — so beautiful — and rife 
With all we can imagine of the skies. 

Lord Byron. 

.... All the world desires her — 

they come to see fair Portia. 

Merchant of Venice. 

.... Know'st thou the youth ? 

Ibid. 

Evelyn did not return to Oriel, although 
her friend departed the next Tuesday, as she 
had resolved to do, and, for the first time in 
her life, Evelyn knew what it was really to 
grieve. She felt a weight upon her heart — a 
suffocating sensation in her throat, as the 
moment of parting approached, which she 
could neither account for nor overcome ; and 



44 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

when at length Helen tore herself away from 
the arms that still endeavoured to retain her, 
Evelyn felt as if the bitterness of a whole life 
were concentrated in that one moment of over- 
whelming sorrow. 

But though her grief was keen at first, it 
soon subsided. Her feelings were acute, when 
roused; but, as is generally the case with 
ardent dispositions, their very violence speedily 
exhausted itself. In a few days, she was as 
ready as ever to be charmed with all the 
dazzling novelties that surrounded her, and to 
enter keenly into every project for amuse- 
ment, every interest of Lady Truro's. That 
lady seemed to think she could never do 
enough to show kindness to her young pro- 
tegee. Delighted to possess so amiable and 
yielding a companion, charmed with her 
beauty, and flattered by her earnest admira- 
tion for herself, she overwhelmed her with 
attentions and proofs of regard, irresistible 
from one in her position to a girl like Evelyn, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 45 

fresh, unsophisticated, and warm-hearted as 
she was. Evelyn could not see the shadow of 
a fault in Lady Truro, and had any one then 
accused her of selfishness, she would have 
rejected the imputation with anger ; for what 
could be less selfish, less worldly, than her 
conduct towards herself? 

Evelyn was now in a perpetual state of 
rapturous excitement. One pleasure suc- 
ceeded another with such rapidity, that she 
sometimes felt almost fatigued with their 
excess, and was conscious of a wish that she 
could pause, as it were, for a time, and enjoy 
herself more at leisure. 

But a greater excitement than all was ap- 
proaching; and never did young lady just 
released from the iron rule of the school-room, 
and panting for the freedom which she believes 
can be conferred only by " a name and by a 
ring," look forward with more intense expecta- 
tion — more eager delight — to her first appear- 
ance in society, than did this simple-hearted 



46 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

girl, in whose dreams (and they had been many 
and bright) the idea of making a good match, 
as it is called, had never even entered ! 

At the next Drawing-room, she was to be 
presented, and the approaching court ball was 
to witness her debut. Oh ! what consultations 
between Lady Truro and Mamselle Anna, 
respecting her dress and appearance, and then 
between Lady Truro and her own maid ! 
What deliberations ! What exclamations ! 
What flattery ! One would have thought the 
fate of the nation depended upon the colour 
of a ribbon, or the choice of a silk ! And all 
for one to whom Nature had been so lavish in 
her gifts, that Art could do nothing — posi- 
tively nothing — to enhance them ! The utmost 
one could hope was, that it might not in any 
way mar what was already so perfect. Even 
Deschamps could not help observing at last, 
when poussee a bout by the incessant journeys 
up and down stairs, and the innumerable re- 
quests for her opinion about this dress and the 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 47 

Other trimming which the new comer occa- 
casioned, ''Mais, miledi, que veiit-elle done? 
Qu'est ee que ^afait, que fa soit broche ou uni, 
avec une figure semblable f On croiroit bien 
que Mademoiselle fut laide /" 

There were no fond parents to gaze with 
conscious pride upon Evelyn's exquisite face 
and faultless figure when arrayed for the pre- 
sence of her Sovereign — no troops of admiring 
cousins hurrying to see her dressed for court — 
no soldier-brother, stiff and cross in his uni- 
form, and ready to vote the whole concern of 
the Drawing-room a bore, to soften as he 
gazed upon her, and at length relax into a 
smile of proud delight at possessing so beauti- 
ful a sister. Evelyn had none of these. Even 
her own Helen and her good old parents were 
not there to be gratified by her appearance ; 
but amongst those who did see her there was 
but one opinion ; and in Lady Truro's smiling 
exclamation, " Well, Evelyn, I will undertake 
to say that you will see no one to-day to 



48 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

compete with yourself," and Deschanips' short 
aside to Mademoiselle Anna, '' Ma foil faut 
avouer qu'elle est divine comme fa /" and Lord 
Truro's expressive start, and almost involun- 
tary exclamation, " By George, how lovely !" 
the same spirit of admiration was sufficiently 
manifest. 

Evelyn Harcourt did indeed look peerlessly 
beautiful that day — the first of her introduc- 
tion and her triumphs ! Even Royalty itself 
contributed its share to the intoxication of the 
hour, and the first voice in the realm was heard 
to pass a strong eulogium on her beauty. 
From that hour, she entered an atmosphere 
of adulation that was sufficient to turn many 
a wiser head than hers. From that hour, 
she became the fashion — the Beauty, par 
ea^cellence, of the season — the wonder whom 
all talked about — raved about — longed to 
behold ! 

Lady Truro was in Paradise ! Her expec- 
tations had been great, but the reality infinitely 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 49 

surpassed them, and her love for her young 
cousin increased in proportion with her suc- 
cess, and the eclat she reflected upon herself. 
Nothing in all the annals of London fashion 
ever surpassed the sensation the young beauty 
created that year. No party, however bril- 
liant or exclusive, was considered perfect un- 
less she were present. At the Opera, a stranger 
might wonder what occasioned almost every 
glass in the house to be so frequently directed 
towards one particular box in the dress-tier, 
till a glimpse at the exquisite face it contained 
suddenly explained the mystery; and many 
an unfortunate girl in a ball-room, when in- 
wardly lamenting the destruction of her fresh 
trimmings by the sudden crush that over- 
whelmed her, would be told by her partner 
that it was only the beautiful Miss Harcourt's 
arrival that occasioned the pressure, and would 
then be dragged still further into the crowd, 
that he might catch a glimpse of her peerless 
countenance. 

VOL. I. D 



50 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

All London talked of her! All London 
raved about her ! At crowded dinner-parties, 
her charms formed alike the conversation of 
the grave cabinet minister, and the timid de- 
butante. People manoeuvred for an intro- 
duction to her as they had never manoeuvred 
before, and the sight of the Truro livery 
amongst the equestrians in Hyde Park created 
a general buzz, that proceeded from party to 
party. — " Here comes the Beauty !" — " 'Pon 
my soul, yes ! That's Truro's bloodmare !" — 
" What, Miss Harcourt! where, oh, where? 
I'm dying to see her !" — " There, on the left, 
riding beside Lady Truro !" — " Haverfordwest 
is next to her !" — " Yes, Haverfordwest is 
making up to her furiously !" — '' But it won't 
do, mark my words !" — *' Well, she is lovely, 
I must say...." 



Lady Truro was a judicious chaperon. She 
was as select and exclusive for Evelyn as it 
was possible to be for any one, and two-thirds 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 51 

of the invitations forced upon them were sys- 
tematically refused. Evelyn must not appear 
too often; she must not make herself too 
common ! Once hacked about and paraded 
at every ball, like any other beauty, both her 
freshness and her fame would soon be on the 
wane. It was rather a privilege now to get 
a sight of her — the greatest to be admitted to 
her acquaintance. To obtain the entree of 
Lady Truro's coterie was considered a far 
greater distinction than to frequent Almack's. 
Doubtful or objectionable people were known 
sometimes to penetrate there, even in those 
exclusive days ; but no one that was doubtful 
or objectionable ever found their way within 
Lady Truro's doors. 

All the greatest and most desirable partis 
of the day were, of course, assiduously culti- 
vated, and that lady made it a matter of pride 
that none but the most brilliant matches should 
be even submitted to her fair cousin. She 
was not without hopes that, young as Evelyn 

D 2 

LIBRARY 

mmRswi OF iLUMois 



52 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

was, she might jet marry this year. There 
were two or three devoted swains who, as she 
believed, wanted nothing but a little encou- 
ragement to speak out ; amongst whom were 
the Duke of Shetland and Lord Haverford- 
west. 

The Duke of Shetland was good-looking 
and agreeable, and he had of course been shot 
at by all the beauties, and manoeuvred for by 
all the mammas, since the time when he had 
been fortunate enough to emancipate himself 
from that part of the aristocratic dress of his 
own mother by which her apron was attached. 
Even his very holidays had been struggled for 
and sought after, when his hobbedyhoy Grace 
was honouring Eton with his idleness and 
ducal frolics ; for such things have been known 
as the childish loves of a boy and girl being 
renewed when they are older ; and at the 
worst, it can never be a disadvantage for a 
young lady to be on sisterly terms with a 
Duke! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 53 

But his Grace of Shetland had hitherto 
resisted all nets, all attractions ! he had nei- 
ther married one of his schoolfellow's sisters, 
nor wished to marry his own sister's gover- 
ness ; and he had been not a little scandalized 
at the match his friend Truro had made, of 
whose sense and judgment he had fondly en- 
tertained a far better notion, than to imagine 
he would be caught by a penniless Miss Har- 
court, of Yorkshire, whom nobody out of that 
county had ever even heard of. In his opi- 
nion, it was a piece of particular maladresse 
to marry early. Wives, at the best, must 
always be bores, however independent one 
might be of them. There was always the 
chance that they might take upon themselves 
to know something they had no business to 
know — perhaps even to advise or remon- 
strate ; and a remonstrating wife who would 
bear ? Then there was the trouble of looking 
after them, for they must be looked after, to 
say nothing of the nuisance of having a cub 



54 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of a son growing up into manhood, long 
before his unlucky father required to dye a 
single hair ! 

But, alas for the inconsistency of human 
nature ! Although the Duke so unsparingly 
condemned his friend for the step he had 
taken, he was now blindly treading in the 
very same steps himself, and not only ad- 
miring a Miss Harcourt, but actually thinking 
of marrying one too ! His folly was equal to 
his friend's. 

There was something so new, so peculiar in 
Evelyn's exquisite loveliness, so unlike any 
thing that had appeared before in London, in 
his time at least, that he felt himself irre- 
sistibly attracted towards her. She was so 
natural ! she had such a keen relish for the 
pleasures which others pursued — not as plea- 
sures, but as mere means to an end ! She 
had no end, no aim, but to enjoy herself ! Her 
mind was clear and limpid ; you might look 
through it, and perceive no thought of guile. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 55 

It was refreshing to talk to her, to gaze upon 
her. The eye, the heart, felt that sensation 
of satisfied repose, which is produced even to 
the most worldly, the most biases; and some- 
times peculiarly to them, by the beautiful 
power of Nature's own truth. 

This love of the natural and true is not 
easily extinguished in our hearts ; even those 
who possess it the least themselves, some- 
times value it the most in others. He who 
has had the most experience of the world - 
liness and insincerity of women, the best 
cause to know them well, is precisely the one 
who makes choice of the most simple and 
unsophisticated girl for his wife. He values 
such qualities in proportion with what he 
knows to be their rarity. And the reason 
why we prove so frequently wrong in our 
speculations for the matrimonial choice of 
our friends is, simply, that we too often judge 
from the past experience the former pre- 
ferences of those friends. If a man have 



56 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

been an ardent admirer of beauty, we pro- 
phecy that he will be caught by some pretty 
face ; or, if he have always paid particular 
homage to genius, we feel certain he will be 
captivated by a woman of mind. If he have 
always been devoted to married women, we 
determine that he will choose a person of a 
certain age, a woman of the world — perhaps, 
a jointured widow! Yet these speculations 
most often turn out to be totally wrong, and 
it is easy to account for it. The disadvan- 
tages too frequently inseparable from beauty, 
learning, and worldly wisdom, are best known 
to those who have seen the most of them; 
and often the very qualities that a man most 
seeks for and prizes in the lady of his bachelor 
worship, are precisely the last he would wish 
to bring within the sanctuary of his home ! 



'' Oh ! do tell me," said Evelyn, one even- 
ing, suddenly raising her magnificent eyes 
and fixing them full on the Duke of Shetland, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 57 

who was, as usual, in attendance upon her in 
Lady Truro's opera-box, " who was that gen- 
tleman Lord Mersey was talking to when we 
met you to-day in the Park ? " 

" That gentleman ! — how can I hope to 
answer such a question ? Were we not talk- 
ing to several ? I know, I interrupted young 
Howard in the midst of one of his endless 
stories when I perceived you" . . . 

" This gentleman rode away as we came 
up. I have seen him several times before, 
and I have the greatest possible curiosity to 
know who he is." 

" Happy man, to excite the notice, the 
curiosity of Miss Harcourt ! Who can he be ? 
But I will strive not to think of him — it is 
more than I am equal to ! " 

" That is not the way to make me think of 
him less, if woman's curiosity be what it is 
described to be ! You had better gratify 
mine now." 

" Was it De Benyon ? a handsome fellow, 

d5 



58 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

with dark hair — young De Benyon, of the 
Guards?" 

*' Oh dear, no ! I know him. Not the 
smallest resemblance." 

" Then I cannot imagine." 

" You mean, you are resolved not to 
try." 

" Far from it ; you wrong me. I am rather 
of a generous turn, I believe, and I would 
willingly prove it in this instance, especially 
as I consider you in a manner pledged, if I 
discover the name of your hero, never to 
bestow another thought upon him." 

" No, no !" cried Evelyn, laughing, '' I will 
make no such promise. I have not bestowed 
many thoughts upon him as yet, but if I 
•should see him again, I cannot pledge myself 
not to think that that is the man !" 

" What a position do you place me in !" 
cried the Duke, with a gesture of mock de- 
spair. " You ask me the name of a he, who 
rode away as you appeared — sufficient proof 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 59 

to my mind that he was a he of no taste ; and 
yet you" . . . 

" There he is, I declare ! " cried Evelyn 
eagerly, " in Lady Fitzarthur's box ! He is 
just come in — there — looking at the stage ! 
Now, who is he ?" 

" That ! You do not mean that you don't 
know Sherborne ? Impossible !" 

*' And why? Does it argue oneself un- 
known not to know him ?" 

" Why, almost. A man of his notoriety ! 
his eminence !" 

" Is that then the author of ' Nina' and 
' Retrospections,' and that wonderful play 
that all the world is raving about ?" 

" Even so. And wherefore not ?" 

Evelyn's eyes were fixed intently on the 
opposite box, and she paused a moment before 
she replied, with a perplexed air — 

" I was told he was a ... a middle-aged 
man !" 

The Duke could not refrain from laughing. 



60 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

*' He was said to have written the comic song 
called ' The middle-aged man,' " said he, at 
length ; " but whoever cast such an impu- 
tation upon him as to call Jiim one, must have 
fancied himself the original of that song, I 
suppose, and so sought to revenge himself 
upon its author. Perhaps, however, you would 
call me a middle-aged man ? Sherborne is two 
or three years my junior !" 

" Hush, hush !" cried Evelyn, putting her 
finger on her lips, " here is Malibran"... 

The opera was one of Evelyn's greatest 
pleasures, not only for the sake of the bril- 
liant coup d'ceil it afforded, nor yet for the 
pleasure to which she was, however, by no 
means insensible, of being the " observed of 
all observers," but for the exquisite delight 
the music occasioned her. She was one of 
the few, the very few, in that brilliant assem- 
blage, who really desired to listen in silence 
to every note ; and how many enthusiastic 
feelings, how many fairy visions, were con- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 6 1 

jured up by her vivid fancy within the narrow 
bounds of Lady Truro's opera-box ! Music 
had always a powerful charm for her — it 
raised her for a time into a world of her own, 
a heaven of beauteous and inspiring dreams ! 

That night, the opera was " Semiramide," 
one of her greatest favourites, and almost 
every air of which she knew by heart. The 
performance of it, however, was doomed to 
be unexpectedly interrupted. Malibran, who 
a short time before had broken her elbow, 
and still wore her arm in a sling, was ob- 
served to be not in her usual force, and when 
the second act commenced, and she had to 
appear on the stage, she advanced with a slow 
and faltering step, which was very unlike her 
habitual manner. Twice the symphony was 
played, and still she made no attempt to sing. 
At length, after rocking herself backwards and 
forwards for a few moments, suddenly, to the 
consternation of all, she fell flat upon the stage, 
without a sign of life ! There was a, stifled 



62 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

shriek throughout the house, and Evelyn 
shuddered and turned pale. To her it seemed 
impossible that the unfortunate actress could 
survive that fall — so heavy, so apparently 
stunning! Of course, she was instantly re- 
moved, the curtain fell, and the performance 
was for the time suspended. Then there was 
a rush of young men behind the scenes to 
ascertain the cause of the catastrophe ; and 
there were not wanting some who declared it 
was all a sham of hers, got up out of spite to 
Laporte, who had in some way affronted her, 
and that she was now laughing immoderately 
at the success of her trick. Whether this 
were or were not true, Laporte soon came 
forward to announce that her illness would 
prevent her from appearing again that night, 
and an act from another opera was shortly 
after performed. 

But Evelyn's spirits were damped by this 
occurrence. That sudden, fearful fall was 
still before her eyes, and she still seemed to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 63 

hear the shriek that had resounded through 
the house. 

A feeling of nervousness had crept over 
her, which she could not shake off, and she 
felt relieved when Lady Truro, herself not 
well, proposed going home early. As she 
rose to depart, however, she could not refrain 
from casting one hasty glance at Lady Fitz- 
arthur's box. Only two persons were visible 
there — Lady Fitzarthur, and her sister. Miss 
Brownlow. The " middle-aged man " had 
departed. 



64 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER V. 

.... for myself alone 
I would not be ambitious in my wish. 

.... Yet for you 
I would be trebled twenty times myself; 
A thousand times more fair .... 
That only to stand high on your account . . . 
.... But the full sum of me 
Is an unlessoned girl — unschooled — unpractised. 
Merchant of Venice. 

.... 'tis a hall 
Where people dance, and sup, and dance again. 

Lord Byron. 

Evelyn felt a greater desire than she could 
account for to herself to make the acquaint- 
ance of Arthur Sherborne. There had been 
something about him, an expression in his 
countenance that had struck her even before 
she knew who he was ; but now — now that 
she knew him to be the author of poetry which 
had always seemed to her the most exquisite 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 65 

she had over read, and works of fiction which 
had become celebrated throughout Europe, 
she did indeed feel eager to ascertain whether 
that lofty genius betrayed itself in common 
life ; whether any of the exquisite and inspiring 
thoughts with which his works abounded 
found their way into his ordinary discourse. 
If they did, what a privilege to be admitted 
to his acquaintance ! 

The morning after the opera, Lady Truro 
found her with a whole pile of his works, which 
she had collected from the library, before her ; 
readino^ over and over a^ain some of the most 
beautiful parts of them. It appeared to her 
that she had never till now fully appreciated 
their merits ! The sight of the author had 
done more to open her eyes than half a dozen 
of the most partial reviews could have done. 
She felt elated to think she had seen him — 
inconceivably eager to see him again. 

" Oh, do you not delight in his poetry?" 
cried she, pointing to the open volumes, as 



66 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

her cousin exclaimed with surprise at her un- 
usual occupation, '' I have always been so 
fond of it !" 

*' He ought to be flattered, I am sure !" 
replied Lady Truro. " It is a pity he cannot 
see you now, with this heap of books before 
you ; I question whether he ever received a 

greater compliment He might not feel it so, 

however," she added, after a pause. " He is 
very singular — very reserved — very fastidious." 

*' Fastidious ! no wonder !" 

" And he avoids fresh introductions. / 
might have been acquainted with him. Sir 
Aubrey Harcourt once offered to bring him 
here indeed (they are great friends), but I am 
not without my pride in my own way, and I 
choose to be sought by — rather than to seek 
— even Lions ! I had no reason to suppose 
the gentleman wished to know me, so I de- 
termined not to put myself out of the way 
to know him. I rather discouraged the idea 
of his coming, and he never came ! — " 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 67 

" Oh! what a pity !" cried Evelyn earnestly. 
** Surely a man like him one would wish to 
know on any terms." 

" Do you think so, my love ? If you wish 
to know him, you may easily do so. You 
have but to give a hint to the Duke or Lord 
Haverfordwest; either of them could easily 
manage it !" 

" What ! if he is so fastidious ?" 

Lady Truro smiled almost contemptuously. 
" I do not imagine he would be fastidious with 
you, my dear." 



Evelyn was astonished to find how con- 
stantly this Mr. Sherborne was in her thoughts. 
Wherever she went, she detected herself on 
the look-out for him ; whatever she were doing, 
the idea of him in a short time presented it- 
self. He seemed to have suddenly bewitched 
her! 

She saw him no more, however, for some 
days ; and she was beginning to despair of 



68 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

ever seeing him again, when an invitation 

arrived to a ball at L House, where every 

one distinguished for beauty, fashion, or for 
high literary talent, was sure to be assembled. 
There she might see him — there he might 
possibly condescend to go ; and almost with- 
out being conscious of it, she paid far greater 
attention to the details of her toilet than was 
her wont, and was less inclined than usual to 
be satisfied with its results. 

Before they had been five minutes in L 

House, they were joined by the Duke of Shet- 
land, who had a way of making a kind of pro- 
perty of Evelyn, and affichemg his attentions 
to her in public, which delighted Lady Truro, 
and made her augur well for the result. She 
was beginning indeed to make pretty sure of 
him for her young cousin, provided no pains 
were taken — no anxiety betrayed to bring 
matters to a point. The very day previous, 
she had said to Lord Truro, during the single 
half hour he had condescended to bestow upon 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 69 

her, ^^ I think Evelyn will marry the Duke ! 
Nothing was ever like his attention !" — to 
which her lord had replied in the intervals of 
humming a favourite air of the last new ballet, 
" Take my advice, Barberina, and don't you 
and Miss Evelyn be too ready to lay that flat- 
tering unction to your souls. When Shetland 
tells me he is going to marry her, I will 
believe it !— till then Good by !— I'm off!" 

But, in spite of this warning, Lady Truro 
did still continue to lay the flattering unction 
to her soul. As for Evelyn — but we will not 
anticipate her feelings. 

" By the by, Miss Harcourt, * the middle- 
aged man ' is here to-night," said the Duke ; 
" and I told him how much your curiosity 
was excited about him the other day." 

" Oh no ! you did not ! . . " 

" Indeed I did ; and what is more, I offered 
to introduce him to you, or rather, to ask 
your permission to do so. There ! was not 
that generous on my part ? . . But I can't make 



70 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

the fellow out ! He affects singularity, in- 
sensibility ! what not ! He fought off — talked 
of his shyness — his diffidence and insigni- 
ficance. I know it was something that 
rhymed !" 

" Just what I told you the other day, 
Evelyn," said Lady Truro. " // se fait prier ! 
now I can't bear that." 

Evelyn made no answer ; in her heart she 
felt cruelly mortified. She had cherished a 
hope almost unknown to herself of that night 
making Mr. Sherborne's acquaintance! But 
now it seemed as if a barrier had been sud- 
denly placed between them — a barrier of his 
own raising ! She should never know him — 
never express to him, as she had longed to do, 
her earnest admiration of his works ! 

At length, they reached the music gallery ; 
and, when once emancipated from the pressure 
of the doorway, and at large in that noble 
room w^hich can hardly ever be too crowded, 
Evelyn looked eagerly round for the object of 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 71 

her interest. But it was not till she had 
joined the dancers that she perceived him 
seated in a distant corner by a young and at- 
tractive person, whose face she did not even 
know. Her curiosity was instantly excited. 

'' Who is that pretty girl in white?" in- 
quired she of her partner ; *' there — by Mr. 
Sherborne ?" 

" Oh ! that is his cousin, Lady Annette 
Sherborne." 

And Evelyn, without scarcely knowing it, 
felt pleased to hear that it was a relation. 
But she would have found it very difficult to 
analyze her sensations a moment afterwards, 
when her companion added, 

" It is said they are engaged to each other ; 
I don't know how true it is. There is no 
doubt, I imagine, of the lady's preference, 
but whether he likes her is another thing; 
some people say not. But he is such a strange 
fellow that one cannot tell ; one never knows 
what he feels." 



72 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Evelyn gazed at Lady Annette with a sin- 
gular mixture of interest and curiosity. ** It 
is a handsome countenance !" said she, almost 
unconsciously. 

" Yes, he is a handsome fellow, certainly," 
replied her companion, who imagined she was 
alluding to Mr. Sherborne. " Such an intel- 
lectual countenance ! But as usual he looks 
horribly bored, does not he ? He hates balls, 
and scarcely ever goes to them. I wonder, for 
my part, that he is here to-night. There ! — 
Lady Annette is trying to provoke him to talk 
to her ; but it won't do — he is in one of his 
absent moods this evening — thinking, perhaps, 
of his next new novel ! . . She is pretty — don't 
you think so ?" 

" Very." 

" And rich too ; she will have ninety thou- 
sand pounds, at least. A good match for 
him!.." 

From this moment, till the termination of 
the quadrille, Evelyn was totally unconscious 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 73 

of what her companion was talking about. 
She listened to him indeed, and answered 
mechanically where answers were required ; 
but her thoughts were not with her words. 
She was thinking of that fair, bright-eyed girl, 
and wondering whether indeed hers were the 
happy lot to call such a being her own ; and 
whether, if it were so, she appreciated the 
happiness. She wondered, too, whether he, 
who could so exquisitely describe the highest 
species of love, had felt it himself, and for 
his cousin. 

Then it suddenly struck her that his atti- 
tude was less one of happiness than of ab- 
straction. His eyes seemed mechanically to 
follow the various groups moving around him, 
but it was with a thoughtful and preoccupied 
expression. And now and then, when Lady 
Annette addressed some observation to him, 
he seemed to awaken from his reverie; — 
but, after a few words of reply, he would 
relapse again into silence and apparent 

VOL, I. E 



74 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

abstraction. It was certainly not the manner 
of love ! 

That night was one of peculiar triumph for 
Lady Truro. Evelyn was radiant in her 
beauty, and never had the homage paid to it 
been more striking, more flattering ; never 
had its superiority over all others appeared 
so pre-eminent. Happy indeed was he who 
obtained the honour of her hand for one dance 
during that evening — an honour more than 
once sought for by Royalty itself. But, in 
the midst of all this adulation, so intoxicating 
to a young and ardent spirit like hers, her 
thoughts were constantly recurring to that 
one solitary exception, the only being in all 
this brilliant crowd, who cared not to know 
her — who rather sought indeed to avoid her 
acquaintance. His features dwelt in her 
memory — his absent, melancholy look, 
and, above all, that lofty and most earnest 
expression, unlike any other she had ever 
beheld, strangely haunted her. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 75 

How little do one half of the world know 
or imagine what is passing in the minds of 
the other half! As Evelyn stood up in the 

quadrille by the side of the young D of 

O ^ the envy of every girl in those 

princely halls, no one certainly imagined 
that her thoughts were far less fixed on the 
distinguished honour that was paid her, or 
the evident admiration of the royal scion by 
her side, than on the silent and melancholy 
poet who stood, as it were, apart, the only 
one who seemed to refuse allegiance to her 
beauty. 

He had left his seat, and Lady Annette was 
dancing in the royal quadrille. He was 
standing near her, apparently watching the 
dancers. Once, Evelyn caught his eye ; but 
it glanced over her and away so instantly, 
that her heart throbbed with a sensation of 
wounded pride ; and she determined to look 
at him no more. A few minutes after, how- 
ever, she could not refrain from stealing one 



76 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

more glance in his direction, as she turned to 

reply to a remark of the Due D'O ; and 

her face in another instant was glowing with 
blushes, for she detected him gazing intently 
at herself. Many people who observed that 
blush and that confusion, gave to them a very 
different interpretation from the true one, 
imagining that the compliments of Royalty 
were beginning to assume something of a ten- 
derer tone ; -^ and perhaps some idea of this 
kind might occasion the earnest and pro- 
longed gaze of Mr. Sherborne himself. Be 
this as it may, from that moment Evelyn for- 
gave him his previous sins of indifference and 
avoidance, and felt, with a degree of pleasure 
she could scarcely account for to herself, that 
they were no longer perfect strangers to each 
other. 

From this time, she met him more fre- 
quently. He seemed to have grown less 
sauvage all of a sudden, and he might now 
occasionally be seen at parties, much as he 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 77 

was known to dislike them. Yet all this 
time he was continuing to write, and a new 
work of his was actually in the press. The 
general eagerness and impatience for its ap- 
pearance were, as usual, intense ; and its 
sale, when it did appear, was almost un- 
exampled. 

To describe the delight of Evelyn would be 
really a vain attempt. Every word was de- 
voured by her with an eagerness almost too 
great for enjoyment ; whole pages were com- 
mitted to memory without her even intending 
it, and the tears which other parts occasioned 
might well have gratified the vanity of the 
most unreasonable author upon earth. She 
longed more than ever to know him, yet she 
seemed to have no chance of doing so ; — and 
pride stood in the way of her making the 
least overture, the smallest attempt, at ac- 
quaintance herself. On one occasion, she 
had met him at dinner, and what a happy 
day that was ! — for, though he sat at some 



78 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

distance from her, yet she could now and 
then hear the sound of his voice, and even 
distinguish a few words at intervals. Their 
eyes, too, sometimes met, and she fancied 
that his looked not unkindly upon her, though 
they were very soon turned away. During 
the long interval after dinner in the draw- 
ing-room, she kept wondering to herself whe- 
ther he would depart without coming up- 
stairs. Oh ! who does not know the misery 
of that tedious time, when the moments seem 
actually to creep ? — who has not suffered 
from the dullness of the conversation uttered 
often in subdued tones, as though to conceal 
its stupidity by rendering it more solemn ? — - 
the rustling of the rich satins or silks, as some 
lady moves in her chair, or takes coffee — the 
gleam of hope, whenever a distant door is 
heard to shut ; and, lastly, the throb of 
anxiety when the gentlemen do appear at 
length, slowly sauntering in, one by one, till 
the wished-for one is come ? — Who is there 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 79 

that has not felt all this at one period or 
another ? 

I have always wondered that amongst the 
" miseries of human life," the following was 
not inserted — 

" After having waited, till your patience is 
utterly exhausted, for the appearance of the 
gentlemen from the dining-room, in one of 
whom all your interest is centred, and whom 
you do not expect to have another opportu- 
nity of meeting for some time, finding your- 
self so completely ' hemmed in' on all sides 
by ladies, that Vobjet aiine cannot possibly 
penetrate to where you are ; and whilst in a 
fever of mortification you sit watching his 
disconsolate countenance, suddenly beholding 
him pounced upon by a pretty and fascinating 
young married woman, * quite the fashion,' 
who happens to be peculiarly disposed to 
flirting at the time, and who you know to 
have a spare Opera- ticket in her possession." 

This was not Evelyn's case on the occasion 



80 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

we speak of, for Mr. Sherborne and she were 
not even acquainted. Yet her heart beat 
violently when he slowly entered the draw- 
ing-room in conversation with Lord Mersey, 
and soon after seated himself not far from 
where she was ; quite near enough for her to 
catch some of the conversation which followed 
between him and Lady Scone. 

*'0h! Mr. Sherborne," cried that lady^ 
"you really must write something in my 
album. It has been the object of my am- 
bition ever since " 

"Ever since the world condescended to 
patronize me ! Yes, yes, / know. I might 
write any nonsense, and you would be equally 
pleased ! Ah ! Shakespeare was for once 
wrong when he talked as he did about a 
name. Everythijig'^ in a name, / believe," 

" Very true, very true ! I acknowledge the 
weakness .... But you will still oblige me !" 

Evelyn could not hear all that followed, 
but she caught a sentence here and there :•— 



EVELYN HARCOURT. gl 

^' I cannot command my own powers. — There 
are moments when I could not write to 
oblige you even ; others, when the estro is 
upon me, when I could go on day and night 
without food or sleep. ..." 

*" Ah ! then some day or night, when the 
estro is upon you, be a good creature, and 
write something for my " 

Evelyn felt a kind of indignation at Lady 
Scone. How little could she appreciate such 
a mind as Mr. Sherborne's ! " At least, I 
have a better riijht to know him than she 
has !" thought Evelyn to herself. 

Lady Fanny Colpoys, so celebrated for 
her beautiful voice, was asked to sing. She 
performed some Italian songs, at that time 
the rage, and then, out of compliment to the 
lion of the evening, chose some lines of his, 
so exquisite, that they had been set to music 
almost immediately after their appearance. 
Evelyn knew this ballad well ; it had always 
been one of her greatest favourites. Towards 

E 5 



82 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

the close of it. Lady Fanny, who knew the 
lines but very imperfectly, forgot one of them, 
and, pausing for a moment, looked round as 
though for assistance. But no one could 
prompt her — no one could remember the 
exact words, till Evelyn, who was at some 
distance, in a trembling voice repeated the 
line, and enabled her to proceed. It was a 
great effort, for she felt timid before Mr. Sher-^ 
borne; and afterwards, she was startled to 
find that he had approached nearer, much 
nearer to her than he was before, and his 
eyes were fixed upon her .... But it was not 
an expression of contempt — *no, that she 
was sure of ! — it was a look of kindness. 
She went home happy that night ! 



Sometimes, she met him out riding; and 
however large might be the party she was 
with, however far removed they might be 
from each other in passing, she was sure to 
perceive him at once ; and, though they ex- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 83 

changed no salutation, no form of greeting, 
yet she fancied he no longer looked coldly 
upon her ; — ^he no longer thought her utterly 
beneath his notice, as at first. 

She had made up her mind that she was 
never to know him. She was resolved to 
make no overture, and he had evidently deter- 
mined on the same thing. She must content 
herself with what she could learn of his mind 
through his works. 

But one day — one memorable day — at a 
large dinner-party, which every other person 
was voting the dullest that had taken place 
that season, she found herself suddenly, un- 
expectedly, seated next to Arthur Sherborne. 
The first moment of that discovery was almost 
less pleasurable than painful ; and she turned 
towards the handsome and " irresistible" 
Lord Castleton, who had taken her in to 
dinner, with a momentary determination to 
talk to him without ceasing during the whole 
time it lasted. She had longed for just such 



84 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

a chance as tins, oh, how often ! But now 
that it was come, she felt far more frightened 
than elated. 

In a few moments she perceived that Mr. 
Sherborne was silent; he had turned away 
from his neighbour on the other side, and 
was listening to her conversation. Her 
heart beat quickly; she blushed— hesitated — • 
stammered^-and broke off suddenly ; to Lord 
Castleton's utter surprise, who could not con- 
ceive what on earth he had said or done to 
occasion such agitation. In the mean time^ 
she turned a little towards Mr. Sherborne, 
and stole a timid glance upwards. She met 
his eye — ^but its gentle expression at once 
reassured her; it seemed to ask why they 
should not be friends. She resolved, cost 
what it might, to break the ice ; it was for 
her to do so, and it might freeze again, if he 
wished that it should. 

In a trembling voice, she ventured some 
trifling observation on the weather, and then 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 85 

blushed with shame at such a commencement 
with such a man. But, if the remark were 
foolish, he at least did not seem to think so. 
He caught at the opening ; they entered into 
conversation, and from that instant all diffi- 
culty vanishedj^I will not say all reserve on 
her part, for her enthusiastic admiration of his 
genius rendered her fearful and diffident be- 
fore him, — ^she who knew not what it was to be 
shy with others. She felt her own immea- 
surable inferiority to him ; whilst he was con- 
scious of nothing but surprise, and some little 
dissatisfaction with himself, for having j udged 
her prematurely, and imagined that a creature 
so ingenuous, enthusiastic, and natural as he 
now perceived her to be, must, of necessity, 
because she was beautiful, be a heartless and 
worldly coquette. 



*' Well, Evelyn ! so you and your favourite 
author have at last made acquaintance," said 
Lady Truro, as they were returning home 



86 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

afterwards. " Did you find him agreeal)le ? 
He seemed to me more talkative than usual." 
Evelyn felt a strong disinclination to speak 
of him at all. Something whispered to her that 
Lady Truro was incapable of appreciating him, 
and that she could neither sympathize with 
nor comprehend the kind of enthusiasm with 
which he had inspired herself. She made 
some indifferent reply, and turned the subject 
— and from that time she carefully avoided all 
mention of his name. 



" Shall you ride to-morrow, as usual, in the 
Park?" he had inquired, a moment before 
they had parted, that memorable evening ; — 
and this simple question had filled Evelyn 
with a hope and gladness not to be described. 
It had given her something to look forward 
to. She felt certain she should see him ; and, 
althouo;h the weather looked so doubtful that 
Lady Truro was more than half disposed to 
send away the horses when they had actually 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 87 

come round to the door, Evelyn was so posi- 
tive it would not rain, so eager to go, that 
her cousin could not but indulge her. They 
set out, therefore ; the Duke of Shetland was 
soon, as usual, in attendance, and they were 
gradually joined by one after another of the 
beaux of the Truro clique. But Evelyn's 
spirits began to droop. IMr. Sherborne would 
never join such a phalanx, especially when ha 
had not even been introduced to Lady Truro. 
She perceived hira at length, and her heart 
beat quickly as she saw him approach. But, 
with a bow to herself, and-a smile and a nod 
to two or three of her accompanying satellites 
whom he knew, he passed on at a slow and 
sauntering pace, and her hopes sank at once. 
The pleasure— the interest of her ride was 
over; and when, a few minutes afterwards, 
she felt a drop of rain, she announced the 
alarming fact to her companions, careless how 
soon they returned home now. The whole 
party agreed that it was better to retrace 



88 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

their steps, than to run the risk of a wetting ; 
and all urged their horses into a canter, which 
lasted till they had overtaken Mr. Sherborne, 
who was proceeding leisurely along, either 
unconscious of the impending shower, or in- 
different to it. No sooner did Evelyn per- 
ceive him than she declared she must stop ! 
she was quite out of breath, and she could 
canter no further without resting. All paused, 
of course ; and, in another moment, Mr. Sher- 
borne, startled from his reverie by the ap- 
proach of their party, and encouraged by her 
sweet smile, had joined it, and been formally 
introduced to Lady Truro. 

Then succeeded a short interval of happiness 
for Evelyn. Her cousin was sufficiently en- 
grossed by two of the most agreeable and 
fashionable roues in London to require no- 
thing more ; and most of their other beaux, 
including the Duke, having taken their leave 
when they stopped, on the plea of dinner en- 
gagements, &c., she was left at liberty to 



EVELYN HARCOITRT. 89 

converse with Mr. Sherborne during the short 
interval that remained before they should 
reach Grosvenor Square* 

She already began to feel that they had 
made some progress in their acquaintance. 
She had begun to talk to him of his works ; 
and he, after allowing some little surprise to 
escape him at finding that she had even read 
so many of them, had begun to inquire, with 
much apparent interest, which she preferred, 
and on what accounts, &c. Never were two 
persons more intent upon, more engrossed 
in, their conversation. The rain might have 
fallen in torrents, and they would have 
scarcely heeded it. 

His astonishment was every moment in- 
creasing. This beautiful creature, whom he 
had hitherto supposed to be devoted to no- 
thing but the admiration of the world — a 
mere gaudy butterfly, nearly as thoughtless 
and as evanescent, seemed to be almost as 
intimately acquainted with every thing he 



90 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

had written as he was himself! It was very 
strange ! 

" I will never again take things for granted," 
said Arthur Sherborne to himself, as he gazed 
upon the magnificent eyes turned towards his. 

" You have something to answer for, Miss 
Harcourt," said he, at length, in a low voice ; 
" you have ministered strangely to my vanity 
within the last half hour; and I begin to 
think myself twice the man I did before. If 
you should hear that I am grown intolerably 
conceited, you may reproach yourself." 

Evelyn blushed at these words. Oh ! how 
beautiful was that blush ! 

" But I am not singular, at least, in my 
admiration," she replied timidly ; " you must 
hear the same from everybody." 

" I care little for the admiration of enery- 
body ; and, if I did, how much of it could 
I trust to as sincere? But yours. ..I am vain 
enough — credulous enough, if you will, to 
believe you only express what you feel." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 91 

" It is paying me but a poor compliment to 
call it credulity !" 

" I will not call it so, then... I am a strange, 
wayward being, often wanting a motive for 
exertion, — a stimulus to urge me on to what 
I might be. You have inspired me with one 
within the last half hour. It is, indeed, 
worth while to labour, if, amongst the mass of 
soulless and unsympathizing beings to whom 
an author must address himself in his works, 
he can feel sure of one solitary, bright excep- 
tion — one heart that approves his toil, and 
sympathizes with what shall remain in memory 
of him after death — one spirit for whom he 
has not watched, and meditated, and aspired 
in vain !..." 

Evelyn was silent. Such words, addressed 
to her, and from him !...it seemed too exqui- 
site to be real. 

Alas ! the time soon came when they must 
part. Lady Truro was remarkably gracious 
in her adieus; and, to Evelyn's great asto- 



92 EVELYN HARCOURT*. 

nishment, even went so far as to invite him to 
an evening party at her house for the following 
day. His particular friend, Sir Aubrey Har- 
court, was to be there, she said, and others 
whom he knew; she hoped he would waive 
ceremony, and come. 

He bowed ;— expressed himself much flat- 
tered, but doubted whether he had not another 
engagement. He would come, however, if he 
could ; he should be too happy ! 

As he said this, Evelyn's eye met his, and 
she felt certain that he would come. 

" I thought I could not do better than ask 
him," said Lady Truro, as they entered the 
house ; " he is quite the rage just now ; really, 
that last book of his a fait fureur — much 
more than it deserves, / think; but these 
things are all fashion.... However, since he is 
so much run after, it is just as well to be civil 
to him. He is somebody for one's guests to 
stare at ; and really, the man is not nearly so 
conceited as one might expect, considering his 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 93 

extraordinary talents, and the fuss that is 
made about them ! I' think he is improved, 
too, lately. — How I should like to know what 
he got for that play of his — something stu- 
pendous, of course !" 

" Very true !" replied Evelyn abstractedly. 



94 EVEtYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER VI. 

In thoughts like these, true wisdom may discera 
Longings sublime and aspirations high, 
Which some are born with. 

Lord Byeon. 

But she was pensive, more than melancholy, 
And serious more than pensive ; and serene 
It may be, more than either ; — not unholy 
Her thoughts. 

Ihid, 

Nothing could afford a greater contrast than 
the life of Evelyn Harcourt and that of Helen 
Eridge ; the only occupation of the former 
was amusement, the only amusement of the 
latter was occupation, always of a sohd, fre- 
quently of a serious kind. Helen, without 
being clever, was of a peculiarly thoughtful 
disposition, which delighted to search out the 
truth of things. There are some minds natu- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 95 

rally gifted with a power of looking at subjects 
in a comprehensive point of view, and detect- 
ing what is real and what is shadowy in this 
strange and variable existence. This power 
perhaps most commonly belongs to persons of 
a calm and equable disposition, but it by no 
means argues coldness nor insensibility of feel- 
ing, although it requires a clear judgment and 
an enlarged mind ; a certain nobility of soul, 
in short, (if we may be allowed the expression) 
without which the Present, with all the grosser 
objects of this world, will always be para- 
mount. 

Few people look deeply into any subject, 
although, even in material things, they are 
continually reminded that the remoteness of 
objects neither diminishes their reality nor 
their importance. What would be thought of 
a person who endeavoured to maintain that 
because a single darkened pane of glass con- 
cealed from his view whole plains and moun- 
tains, those plains and mountains were smaller 



96 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and more insignificant than the darkened pane 
of glass ? Yet, when men sacrifice the Future 
to the Present, as so many do, are they not 
acting according to such reasoning? The 
Present is before them indeed, tangible and 
real; the Future, if looked for at all, appears 
inconceivably diminished in the distance. But 
the Future shall one day become the Present, 
when that for which it was sacrificed shall have 
merged into the mighty and unchangeable abyss 
of the Past ! He, therefore, that most bears 
the Future in mind, and remembering the effect 
upon his mental as well as corporeal vision, of 
remoteness in the objects concerned, judges of 
them not as they seem to be, but as he knows 
that they really are— he is the only wise and 
true philosopher ; I might add, too, the only 
religious man, for is not faith the very essence 
of religion — a faith that teaches us to look ever 
beyond the Present and to forget this world, 
in whose miry paths our feet are treading, 
whilst we aspire to another of which the far 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 97 

and serene skies are but the emblem ? Chris- 
tianity breathes this doctrine throughout — the 
doctrine of hope for the Future, It tests all 
things ; and before its pure and divine light 
the glittering and the false, the hollow and 
the vain, the earnest and the solemn, assume 
their true colour — their real shape ! Gain 
often appears loss ! — success misfortune ! — 
affliction a blessing ! — Prosperity a curse ! 
" The first last, and the last first !" 

Thoughts such as these were continually 
passing through the mind of Helen Bridge ; 
thoughts graver perhaps than usually occupy 
the attention of one so young, but which yet 
do sometimes enter in we know not how, and, 
once received, employ in earnest contempla- 
tion the immortal spirit they so intimately 
concern. She would think of her companion 
— the friend of her childhood — who had 
hitherto shared her every feeling; and she 
would ponder over the change that had taken 
place in that friend's lot, till she felt sad at 

VOL. I. F 



98 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

heart — sad to think that their childish days 
were over. 

Evelyn had been all in all to her. Her 
wild, jexuberant spirits had not been the less 
grateful to Helen, because she was more quiet 
and subdued herself; and the thoughtless en- 
thusiasm of the happy girl had not perhaps 
endeared her the less to her graver companion, 
because, ever since their days of infancy, she 
had been accustomed to watch over and pro- 
tect her. 

Evelyn wrote to her often, and as tenderly 
as ever; it was clear that her heart was at 
present unchanged. But Helen could not 
conceal from herself that their objects, their 
interests, their pleasures, were no longer the 
same. The very persons about whom Evelyn 
wrote were most of them unknown to her, and 
those she did know she felt little inclined to 
like. It must end, she thought, in a certain 
estrano:ement between them. 

Her own life was monotonous in its quiet 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 99 

regularity, and in heart she was solitary. 
Her grand-parents, in spite of their doting 
affection for her, were utterly incapable of 
sympathizing with her more intellectual and 
inquiring mind; and indeed the old have 
seldom much in common with the young. She 
devoted herself to them, and they cherished 
her with double tenderness now that they had 
but her to cherish ; but her books, her rambles, 
her solitary meditations, were all things in 
which they could take no part. 

They missed Evelyn sadly. Her ringing 
voice and merry laugh were heard no more at 
Oriel, and they found it hard to reconcile 
themselves to the change. She had been the 
spoiled child, the plaything of the house, and 
every one felt the void her absence had pro- 
duced. The old man had got into a habit of 
wishing for her as he sat in the chimney- 
corner in the evenings — his favourite place, 
even in summer, whilst his wife sat beside him, 
in her high-backed, carved oak chair, with 

F 2 



100 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

spectacles on nose, knitting away as inde- 
fatigably as though the food of the next day 
depended on the result of her labours. At 
such times, Evelyn had been wont to enliven 
the little circle. Her merry prattle, her 
musical talents, had whiled away many a 
tedious hour — tedious to those whose plea- 
sures were decreasing, as their infirmities 
increased. But now there was seriousness 
where there used to have been mirth — silence 
where there used to have been melody ! 

Still, the picture was a beautiful one — 
beautiful, from the very serenity that charac- 
terized it. The old, panelled room, with its 
oriel windows and high-backed chairs ; the 
massive oak table, the carved bookcases, the 
quaint, old-fashioned organ, the very bird- 
cages, covered with their green baize, (the old 
lady's peculiar care) all spoke of quiet home- 
habits and domestic comfort. Then the ve- 
nerable old man, with his long silver hair, his 
patriarchal face, and mild expression ; and his 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 101 

faithful helpmate, with her quaint costume, 
never varied for years past — her kindly coun- 
tenance, on which time had left all those 
mellowed tints which a beautiful skin at 
length acquires ; — both were a study in them- 
selves. Even the poor old spaniel, Gwynu, 
the faithful companion of many a year, added 
his share to the effect of the scene, as with 
his nose just resting against his master's heel, 
as though to remind him of his presence, he 
dozed away his untroubled hours. 

There was the grandchild, too, the very per- 
sonification of innocence and youth, sometimes 
conversing with them upon topics connected 
with their own time, on which, like most 
others of a former generation, they dearly 
loved to speak ; sometimes (and then the pic- 
ture was indeed a touching one) reading aloud 
to them from the large silver-clasped Bible. 
Then the old man would lean his head upon 
his hand to listen ; and his wife, laying her 
knitting bv, would gaze through her spectacles 



102 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

upon the face of the fair girl, and not a sound 
would be heard throughout that ancient, quiet 
chamber, but the tones of her young voice. 

There were times, indeed, when the old 
house was merry with youthful sports, for 
Mr. Eridge had other grandchildren, besides 
Helen, who were younger than she was ; and 
occasionally they would be allowed to visit 
Oriel for a time. They were the children of 
his only son, who had died, some years before, 
abroad. This son had married unfortunately, 
and his wife, an ill-tempered, eccentric, fine 
lady, had made him wretched during his life, 
and after his death had contrived by her ex- 
travagance to involve herself more than once 
in considerable difficulties. 

Mr. Eridge could not be called rich. The 
estate of Oriel, which had been in his family 
for many generations, was less profitable than 
it had been, and he had little income besides 
what he derived from it ; he was therefore by 
no means able to meet the demands constantly 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 108 

made upon hira by bis selfisb and grasping 
daugbter-in-law. He did what he could, how- 
ever ; for be never forgot that she was the 
widow of his son Harry, and the mother of 
his Harry's children. Twice he paid her 
debts, thereby considerably diminishing his 
own income, and sacrificino^ the little savino^s 
of many years. He offered, too — nay, he en- 
treated to be allowed — to undertake the main- 
tenance and education of his two grandsons, 
on the eldest of whom his estate was entailed ; 
but this the mother peremptorily refused, as 
well as the proposal made by the good old 
couple that she and her children should take 
up their abode permanently at Oriel. Her 
fancy was to live abroad ; and abroad she 
would continue to live. Occasionally, how- 
ever, she had sent the boys to their grand- 
father's for a time ; and now that they were 
at a private tutor's, it was arranged that they 
should in future spend all their vacations at 
Oriel. 



104 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

The old man delighted in having them. 
Little as he could enter into their pursuits or 
amusements, they were still his descendants, 
the offspring of his Harry ; and he cherished 
them with that blind and doting fondness 
which is sometimes observable in the old to- 
wards their grandchildren, even more than 
towards their own children. 

At the time of which we speak, these boys 
were expected at Oriel; and Helen looked 
forward to their arrival with very little of the 
satisfaction her grandfather experienced. She 
remembered what they had been during their 
last visit ; and she had no reason to expect 
that they would be less selfish, less headstrong, 
nor more considerate now. Her heart sank 
within her when she heard Mr. Bridge ob- 
serve one morning at breakfast, " In three 
days more the dear boys will be here. Mary, 
you will have their sheets well aired — bless 
their hearts !" 

And the old lady replied with alacrity — 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 105 

" No doubt, no doubt, my dear. Their 
beds were slept in last night, and shall be till 
they arrive. I languish to see them, dear 
lambs !" 

So did not Helen. She, on the contrary, 
felt that these would be her last three days of 
peace. But she kept her reflections to her- 
self. 

And when they arrived, and she saw them, 
she almost laughed at herself for her previous 
anxieties. They were grown into rational 
beings, almost into men ; and she perceived 
that she need entertain no apprehensions of 
accidents in the ponds, nor any overwhelming 
sense of responsibility on their account. They 
were very well able to take care of, as well as 
to amuse themselves, and would probably in- 
terfere as little with her pursuits, as their 
uncle. Captain Percy, who had accompanied 
them, would do. 

It was wonderful how separation from their 
mother had improved them, and still more 

F 5 



106 EVELYN IIARCOURT. 

constant association with this uncle, who was 
neither capricious nor unreasonable, like her, 
but a sensible, judicious, and j)leasant com- 
panion for them, and one whose example they 
naturally felt disposed to emulate. Helen 
was so struck with their vast improvement, 
that, instead of shunning their society, as she 
had formerly done, she now found herself very 
constantly seeking it. It was so delightful 
to see how Captain Percy influenced them ! 
He was so kind, and yet so firm ! He would 
be minded ! A word from him would control 
them at any time ; and yet they seemed to 
love him and treat him like a brother. His 
method of management appeared to her so 
good, that she thought she could not learn 
too much of it for her own future guidance ; 
and she consequently made a point, on prin- 
ciple, of seeing as much as possible of her 
cousins, especially when their uncle was with 
them. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 107 



CHAPTER VII. 



To you my soul's affections move 

Devoutly, warmly, true ; 
My life is now a task of love, 

One long, long thought of you. 

MOOEE. 

I have not loved the world... 

.. in the crowd 
They could not deem me one of such. I stood 
Among them, but not of them — in a shroud 
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts. 

Childe Harold. 

Amiens. The Duke hath been all this day to look you. 
Jacques. And I have been all this day to avoid him. 

As You Like It. 

Our talk grew somewhat serious. 

Shelley. 



In the mean time, a new object had entered 
into Evelyn's existence, a new chord had been 
awakened in her bosom ; and suddenly, as by 
some hidden and mighty agency, her soul 



108 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

became surrounded, as it were, with a flood 
of light and inspiration. Oh, the enchant- 
ment of love — first love ! How many a voice 
has sung its praises since first it illumined 
the earth ! How many a heart has striven, in 
the fulness of its own unutterable ecstasy, to 
image forth its treasures ! But never could 
it be ! The Spirit is too divine to be imagined 
unless felt, and nothing but its own presence 
can teach us what it is.... As little could any 
effort of man paint the brightness of the sun, 
as the celestial spirit of love, first love, be 
described to one who knows it not. 

It was only lately that Evelyn had become 
conscious of the nature of her own feelings. 
She had long deceived herself — long imagined 
it was admiration only that she felt for Mr. 
Sherborne — admiration for talents so exalted, 
a genius so aspiring and so rare. This had 
indeed been the origin of her desire to know 
him ; for she had always, as had Helen also, 
wished most earnestly to make his acquaint- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 109 

ance; but at what period her feelings had 
first begun to change, at what time admi- 
ration had first merged into love, she knew 
not. She only knew that love was now 
there ; that, whatever were her occupation, he 
was in her thoughts, raising them, as it were, 
to himself ; that, wherever she went, he it was 
she looked for, and that, if she saw him not, 
she turned within the recesses of her own 
heart, and found him there! Every thing 
beautiful, of sight, and sound, and imagina- 
tion, seemed in some hidden manner to be 
connected with him. Love shed its lustre 
over all, and the earth to her seemed one 
paradise of hope. 

She knew not that he loved her, yet still 
she was happy. She looked not beyond the 
present ; it was sufficient to see him ; to con- 
verse with him, however rarely ; to think of 
him, and feel the brightness of his intellect ; 
and, when she saw him not, to look forward 
to seeing him again. And how each look. 



1 1 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

each word, was prized, and meditated on, and 
repeated again and again to herself! 

As yet Lady Truro suspected nothing. 
From the moment that Evelyn had become 
conscious of the nature of her feelings, they 
had been safe from detection ; she guarded 
her secret with a jealous care, of which no 
one who had known her previously would 
have imagined her capable. She avoided all 
allusion to Mr. Sherborne; and, if he were 
spoken of, she turned away as soon as pos- 
sible from the subject. A certain instinctive 
consciousness told her that Lady Truro would 
not sympathize with her love, and that she 
was incapable of appreciating its object. Yet, 
Evelyn was fondly attached to her cousin ; 
she loved her with the earnest and confiding 
devotion of a young heart that had never yet 
known deception ; she would have gone to 
the ends of the earth to serve her, and there 
was nothing she would not have sacrificed for 
her sake. 



EVELYN IIARCOURT. 1 1 1 

Evelyn was continually meeting Mr. Sher- 
borne in society ; he no longer seemed to 
shun it as formerly, and he might now be fre- 
quently seen at assemblies and crowded balls, 
though he never danced. It was difficult to 
say what it was he came for — certainly not 
for her ; for sometimes he would remain 
during a whole evening in the same room with 
her, and never even approach or look at her. 

But she was conscious that her manner must 
appear to him any thing but encouraging. 
Ever since she had begun to awaken to the 
consciousness of her own feelings, an over- 
powering timidity had seized upon her. 
Whilst, in reality, her heart was dancing 
within her with joy at his approach, the tones 
of her voice would sound cold and constrained 
as she replied to his greeting ; she scarcely 
dared to raise her eyes to his ; she felt 
abashed in his presence. Words sometimes 
altogether failed her, and she would stand 
there beside him, silent, cold, stern even, in 



112 EVELYN HAKCOURT. 

her glorious beauty, until, chilled by a manner 
so unaccountable to him, so different from 
what it had been during their first acquaint- 
ance, he would leave her, and retreat to a 
distance. Then the blood would rush sud- 
denly back to her cheeks, and she would long, 
earnestly long, for his return ; but he would 
come no more. 

This coldness of manner did not pass un- 
noticed by Lady Truro. " It was a pity," she 
would say, " to be so formal and forbidding 
to one as universally courted as he was, espe- 
cially when at first she had seemed to like 
him : it must appear to him like caprice. The 
acquaintance of a man of his notoriety was 
by no means to be despised ; on the contrary, 
he was one whom it was really desirable to 
know. He was reserved — perhaps, singular; 
but a person of his talent had a right to be 
odd ; nay, would be singular, if he were not 
so. As for conceit, or the paltry vanity of 
giving himself airs, she must say he was 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 113 

wonderfully free from any thing of the kind, 
though at one time she had not thought so." 

Such speeches as these Lady Truro was 
continually making; and Evelyn either lis- 
tened to them in total silence, or made some 
reply, which sounded like the height of indif- 
ference. But, in reality, her object on such oc- 
casions was to conceal her face from her cousin, 
lest the burning blushes which the mention 
of that name never failed to call forth should 
attract her attention and excite her suspicions. 

It would have taken a good deal, however, 
to excite any suspicion in Lady Truro's mind 
about such a man as Arthur Sherborne. Not- 
withstanding his singular beauty and unri- 
valled genius, she had never contemplated 
him in the light of a dangerous person, nor 
one by any means likely to captivate the 
heart of a young and lovely girl like Evelyn 
Harcourt. It was generally understood that 
he was not a marrying man. His father, 
whose tastes had been luxurious and extra- 



114 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

vagant to the greatest degree, had died much 
involved; and it was notorious that he had 
determined on paying all that father's debts. 
For this purpose, he lived in the simplest and 
least expensive manner, invariably appro- 
priating the immense sums his works obtained 
to that object, which indeed now had been 
very nearly accomplished. 

He was notoriously indifferent to women. 
No one could remember any instance of pre- 
ference ever shown by him for any one in 
particular. Either too philosophical or too 
abstracted to dream of love for himself, ex- 
quisitely as he could conceive and inimitably 
portray the divine nature of that passion, 
he was generally considered as far too high 
above the ordinary interests and concerns of 
life to enable him to mix in its follies, or 
share its passions. He seemed to contemplate 
them, as it were, from his own lofty eminence, 
and to be entirely absorbed in that contem- 
plation. A lonely and meditative philoso- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 115 

pher, he painted the various scenes, the 
groups, the lights and shadows he saw be- 
neath him, as no other hand could paint, but 
apparently without a wish to behold them 
nearer, without a desire to mingle in them, 
like his fellows. And, though his heart was 
teeming with benevolence towards all man- 
kind, yet the world viewed him with less of 
kindness than of fear. His very superiority 
rendered him to many an object of awe ; to 
some of envy indeed, but to a greater number 
one of dislike. It was imagined that talents 
so extraordinary must render him superci- 
lious towards his kind, and the somewhat 
lonely life he preferred to lead rather tended 
to foster this impression. In short, every one 
who knew him would have said that Arthur 
Sherborne was the very last man in London 
likely to conceive a passion for a young and 
inexperienced girl — perhaps, the last man 
likely to inspire one ; but on this latter point 
opinions might possibly have differed. 



1 1 6 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

As for Lady Truro, she would almost sooner 
have expected that Evelyn should fall in love 
with her own lord than with the celebrated 
Author, whom she appeared to regard with a 
degree of fear that almost paralyzed her in 
his presence. It was wonderful that Mr. 
Sherborne had not long ago been utterly dis- 
gusted by the marked coldness and reserve of 
her manner to him ; but perhaps her acknow- 
ledged admiration of his works, and the un- 
tiring perseverance with which she read them 
again and again, might, by gratifying his va- 
nity, blind him to the dislike she really seemed 
to entertain towards him personally. Lady 
Truro hoped it might be so ; for she had no 
wish to offend one on whom the world lavished 
its smiles as profusely as it did on Mr. Sher- 
borne ; and, besides, she was very well pleased 
to have him frequently at her parties. 



A Juvenile Fete was to be given about this 
time at Lady Susan East's beautiful villa at 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 117 

W , in honour of a youthful branch of the 

royal family ; and Lady Truro and her young 
cousin were among the prices. But the former, 
being indisposed, had requested a friend of 
hers, Lady Belharris, to take charge of Evelyn, 
and to perform the flattering part of chaperon 
to the young beauty on the occasion. 

The day rose dark and cloudy ; and, when 
Evelyn first entered her cousin's room in the 
morning, it was raining hard. About noon, 
however, the clouds parted, the sun appeared, 
and as beautiful and serene a summer's day as 
had been felt during that season burst forth 
all at once. 

" 1 wish I were going with you," said Lady 
Truro, as Evelyn entered her boudoir, dressed 
in the simplest but most perfect taste, and 
looking fresher and more lovely than an open- 
ino- rose : " I would order the carriage and go 
now— I declare I would, if Locock had not 
said he would call to-day. But perhaps the 
excitement might be bad for me— I certainly 



118 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

do feel very weak this morning, and, if he were 
to find out that I had been to a breakfast, I 
suppose I should get a most tremendous 
scolding ! — " 

" Yes, dear Barberina," replied Evelyn af- 
fectionately, " you know he told you not to 
leave the house till he had seen you ; and, 
though a quiet country drive might do you 
good, going to a dejeuner like this is very 
different." 

" Yes ! — Well ! you must go without me." 

" But, after all, why should I go at all ? 
Why should I not stay and drive with you ? I 
can tell Lady Belharris, when she calls for me, 
that I have changed ray mind. Do let me 
give it up — I had much rather." 

" No, my dear ; it would be a thousand 
pities : si Men mise, si comme il faut, as you 
are ! No ; I will not hear of it. It is to be 
a very pretty thing, unusually pretty and 
brilliant they tell me, and you will enjoy it 
exceedingly. The Duke is to be there too." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 ] 9 

'' Is he ?" said Evelyn abstractedly ; for she 
was thinking whether one other person would 
be there. She feared it was not likely ; if he 
should be, indeed .... 

"■ What shall I do with myself till this 
doctor comes?" said Lady Truro, languidly 
raising her head from the splendid cushion on 
which it was reposing, and looking round the 
room as though in quest of occupation. " All 
the world will be gone to this breakfast — no 
one will call — " 

" Why not let me stay with you, as I wish ? 
I should like it so much !" 

" My dear, I have too much regard for 
Deschamps' feelings — too much for the 
Duke's.." 

" The Duke's !" 

" Yes, the Duke's. You need not look so 
innocent and so astonished. I wonder what 
he would say to me if I were to keep you 
from this dejeuner, and only to amuse my- 
self!" 



120 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Let him say what he likes ; I am sure, I 
don't mind." 

" But I do ; — and you must too, let me 
tell you." 

Lady Truro paused, and looked steadily at 
Evelyn, as though she would read her inmost 
thoughts. Perhaps, however, she considered 
it better to say nothing now of her own ; it 
was not yet time, and any attempt to in- 
fluence her might do mischief. 

" I shall do very well, dear," said she, after 
a moment's silence. " Perhaps, Mrs. William 
Gardner may come ; she is always pleasant — 
and Helen Montgomery.... If you could find 
me an amusing book. . " 

" Oh ! there is Mr. Sherborne's last work ; 
you have never read it." 

" No, not through ; and, to tell you the 
truth, I never mean to do so. It is very 
clever, I admit ; very deep, very fine — but it 
has too much of the ' sublime and beautiful ' 
for me. I cannot enjoy being carried up to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 121 

such a tremendous height ; it makes me 
giddy." 

Evelyn turned away in silence. She felt a 
real pity for any one that could talk so of 
Mr. Sherborne's works. 

Just then, there was a tremendous rap at 
the door. 

" There is Lady Belharris .... Now, go, 
Evelyn, dear ; be sensible, and tell the Duke I 
expect him on Wednesday evening. Here is 
a bouquet for you." 

'* Oh no, not those beautiful flowers — keep 
them yourself, Barberina." 

" Now don't be childish — there — take thera ; 
— they were meant for you." 

Lady Truro did not tell her that the Duke 
had sent them that morning with " his compli- 
ments to Miss Harcourt !" 

" I really don't like leaving you all alone, 
dear Barberina," said Evelyn. " I wish Lord 
Truro . . . . " 

She stopped short. — A singular expression 

VOL. I. G 



122 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

passed over Lady Truro's countenance ; but it 
lasted only for a moment. 

" You had better wish nothing about Lord 
Truro, my dear;" said she, half laughing, 
half seriously — ** If you must wish anything, 
let it be that your husband may never give 
you greater cause of complaint than mine 
does me." 

Any one who had heard hes ^ words might 
have supposed Lady Truro was utterly uncon- 
scious that she had any causes of complaint. 

Evelyn sighed : s she ( pened the door ; — 
'' I shall never marry !" said she .... 



The day was indeed lovely. The rain had 
completely laid even the obstinate London 
dust, whilst it had refreshed the air, and there 
was not a cloud to be seen in the deep expanse 
of blue ; so clear, so serene, that Evelyn 
longed to traverse its pathless depths, like the 
happy birds that seemed winging their flight 
rejoicing towards the sun. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 123 

Did any one ever gaze at those azure regions, 
and not feel something of inspiration towards 
the heaven that fancy pictures there ? I pity 
those who can ! To me the sky is full of 
light and hope ; and whether in the early 
morning, when the stars grow pale, or in the 
"•entle eventide, when all nature seems dis- 
posed to contemplation, or in the solemn night, 
when worlds of dazzling brilliancy seem gazing 
down upon the haunts of men, to watch their 
sleep — never can I look out upon those illimi- 
table heavens without an intense longing for 
that immortality which perchance shall reveal 

their mysteries ! The ocean is grand and 

sublime, but it produces not the same sensa- 
tions as the sky. It calls forth wonder and 
admiration, but it speaks of this world — of 
the uncertain and treacherous Present, of 
which it forms so true an emblem. But the 
sky, the far and serene sky, tells of the Future ; 
that future w^hich shall be as infinitely above 
the present, as the heavens are above the earth. 

G 2 



124 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

I remember the impression made upon me 
when yet a child by hearing one say, who had 
spent many years at sea, that his greatest 
pleasure had often consisted in lying on the 
deck for hours during fine weather, and watch- 
ing the exquisite and airy tracery of the 
clouds as they gleamed athwart the sails; 
some piled in pyramids one above another; 
some stretching far across the sky, like mighty 
monsters of the air ; some scattered in arrowy 
lines, as thouo^h fluno^ with vehement force 
from a hand ; some fleecy, and immeasurably 
distant ; some white, and luminous, and shin- 
ing, as we might fancy angel's wings. Who 
cannot sympathize with such a contemplation, 
and with all who bring down beauty and in- 
spiration from the skies ? 

There is no accounting for our various 
moods of mind, though it is certain that 
matter has a singular influence over some of 
them. What joyous and serene feelings may 
be called forth by a bright and sunny day ! — 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 125 

and if the mists happen to hang somewhat 
lower than usual about this strange ball of 
ours, what gloom, and sullen fancies, and 
morbid discontent, will sit brooding upon the 
spirits of many of its children ! — 

But, if the sun, and balmy airs, and har- 
monious sounds, and all the sweet influences 
of a delicious summer afternoon, had power 
to dissipate malignant humours and ensure 
content, there would not have been one me- 
lancholy heart that day. As Evelyn was 
whirled rapidly along, the breath of heaven 
seemed to her all balm ; each tree she passed 
was picturesque in her eyes, and every little 
plot of garden-ground wafted delicious per- 
fume. All things shone around her ; and her 
spirit rejoiced within her, and was glad. 

She felt little inclined to converse ; her 
thoughts were full of him she loved. Every- 
thing beautiful, and happy, and inspiring, al- 
ways connected itself in her mind with him. 
The spirit of his poetry and his lofty philo- 



126 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

sophy had communicated itself to her, and 
she had learnt to look at all things with some- 
thing of his eyes. Singular and beautiful 
power of love, which can imbue the heart of 
the worshipper with the doctrines and spirit 
of the worshipped ! 

They soon arrived at the place of their des- 
tination ; and Lady Belharris, with the lovely 
Evelyn on her arm, and her troop of besashed 
and beflounced little ones following in her 
rear, was soon in the midst of the gay throng 
assembled on the lawn, and returning the in- 
numerable greetings which met her on all 
sides; whilst Evelyn stole furtive glances 
around, in search of one face, one form, which 
as yet she could not see. 

" How do you do, Lady Belharris ?" 

*' Only just come?" ''And are all these 

your little people ? Good gracious ! is it pos- 
sible ?"■ "Good morning, Miss Harcourt !" 

" No, I have only two here ; the others 

are too young — Lady Mary said she would 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 127 

not bring them." " Yes, that is my sister, 

standing by Madame de St. Angelo — there, in 

blue." " Charmed to see you, Miss Har- 

court. Lady Truro not here?" *'0h! I 

am sorry ; but I thought her looking ill the 

other...." "Shall I lift you up, my little 

fellow ?" 

'' But I don't see Punch." 

" Not see Punch ? Why, Harry, my dear, 
where are your eyes ?" 

" The Princess is not come." 

" Not yet ; when she does come, they will 
have the jugglers." 

" What a charming place !" 

" Is not it ? — and so near London ! — de- 
lightful !" 

'' There — the Princess is come. Don't you 
hear them playing * God save the King V " 

" But the King is not here, is he, mamma?" 
inquired a little treble voice. 

'' Hush, Cecil ! Did not I tell you to ask 
no foolish questions?" 



128 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

The scene was indeed a brilliant one, as the 

Princess M of was ushered out 

upon the lawn by the lady of the house. The 
smooth fresh turf, with the flickering shadows 
playing upon it, as the soft wind waved the 
feathery foliage — the groups of lovely children 
scattered about — the parterres of flowers — 
the vases, and the bright sun, and cloudless 
sky — all presented as beautiful a picture as 
can well be imagined. 

Many a little heart beat with emotion, as 
the inspiring air was played which no national 
anthem ever surpassed, and many a little 
spirit envied the youthful scion of Royalty in 
whose honour this/e1fe was given. But, of all 
the gay throng assembled on that sunny lawn, 
there was none, young or old, who felt the 
thrill of intense excitement with which Evelyn 
listened to those melodious sounds. As she 
stood, turned towards the band, with her head 
slightly upraised, her eyes sparkling through 
the tears that had sprung to them, her noble 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 129 

countenance singularly expressive of the en- 
thusiasm she was feeling, she was unconscious 
of everything but that inspiring melody. And 
it was not till it had ceased, and she had 
turned away with a sigh of excited feeling, 
that she became aware of Mr. Sherborne's 
presence and vicinity, and that he was intently 
regarding her. Her cheeks instantly became 
the deepest crimson, and she returned his 
salutation with an embarrassment so evident, 
that he could not fail to be struck by it. In 
another moment, he was by her side ; and she 
was trembling under all that tumult of joy, of 
hope, and unconquerable timidity, which his 
presence invariably occasioned. 

His first words were insiofnificant enough. 

" Is Lady Truro not here ?" 

"No; she has not been very well the last 

few days^and so I I came with Lady 

Belharris." 

There was a pause. 

" You are fond of music," said he, at length. 

G 5 



130 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

*' I saw it just now as you were listening to 
the band. You felt at that moment as if you 
were a queen yourself; was it not so?" 

She smiled, and looked up at him, but 
her lip quivered, and she made no answer. 

Again there was a pause, and he felt dis- 
couraged ; whilst she longed to speak, but 
could not. But once more the music struck 
up, and, amongst the tumult of emotions 
which was agitating her, she perceived the 
Duke of Shetland, who had just arrived, ap- 
proaching. She instantly turned away ; her 
fear of his approach suddenly inspired her 
with courage. 

" The jugglers are beginning, I think," 
said she. " I should like to go and look at 
them." 

Mr. Sherborne at once offered his arm, as 
indeed he could scarcely avoid doing; she 
took it, and then turned to look for Lady 
Belharris, who was talking to a group of 
ladies near. 



EVELYN H ARCOURT. 131 

" Lady Belharris, I dare say the children 
are dying to see the jugglers, as I am childish 
enough to be. Do come ! Shall I take charge 
of Beaujolois?" 

" Oh, how kind of you ! — if she will not be 
in your way. Beau, my dear, go to Miss 
Harcourt, and mind you are not trouble- 
some." 

How Evelyn's hand trembled as it rested 
upon his arm ! and she trembled yet more lest 
he should perceive it. She was close to him 
— they touched one another — she was in a 
perfect heaven of happiness ! 

And it was not long before even her exces- 
sive shyness and conscious timidity began to 
disappear in the intense interest excited by 
his conversation. They talked of his works, 
of authors in general, and himself in par- 
ticular; and she soon forgot everything in 
her eager desire to learn more about him — 
more of his heart. He told her much con- 
nected with the composition of his works ; 



1S2 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

how one had been written languidly, and, as 
it were, with effort, (because he felt he had 
been too long idle) and consequently bore a 
totally different character from the rest ; how 
another had been composed during a period 
of joy, when a beloved friend had just re- 
turned after a long absence ; how a third had 
formed the pastime and amusement of inter- 
vals of ease during a painful illness ; and how 
another had been written in sorrow, and bore 
the marks of a grieving though not a hopeless 
spirit. 

" And those exquisite lines, * My hour is 
past,' " said Evelyn, timidly ; ** v^ere you un- 
happy when you wrote them ?" 

" Not unhappy, but sad. The bitterness of 
my sorrow had passed away — (some months 
before I had lost my mother) — and it had left 
behind it a mild but not unpleasing melancholy. 
I have always thought this frame of mind one 
of the best — the most disposed to virtue of 
which our nature is capable. The spirit comes 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 133 

out refined, as it were, — chastened from the 
sorrow that has been oppressing it, and up- 
springs with a fresher and more divine impulse 
towards the heaven whence it derives its 
hope. It experiences that calm, that serene 
consciousness of superiority, of which we are 
always sensible when we are able for the time 
to raise ourselves above the petty concerns, 
the debasing interests of this world, and com- 
mune with higher things — a proof, if any were 
wanting, that the true nature of the spirit — 
its real purpose and destiny — is to rise !...The 
heart is also, at the same time, more humble, 
more tender, more open to the gentle in- 
fluences of compassion and sympathy. It has 
suffered ; and to it all sufferers are sacred ; it 
regards them as friends, for theirs has been 
the same struggle — the same experience.... I 
believe that such moods of mind — those of 
contemplation, perhaps of melancholy, though 
not oi gloom — have produced the most elevated 
works, the most lofty and pure philosophy 



134 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

that has enlightened the world. In actual 
grief, few can write — few have ever done so. 
The mind has enough to do to struggle with 
the tempest of its own emotions, and, like the 
waving corn, to bend beneath it, that it may 
rise again, drooping, but not crushed. It has 
enough to do to endure ; it cannot describe its 
endurance. The faculty of observation always 
implies a certain degree of mental freedom, 
of composure ; indeed, I doubt whether any 
emotion, whether of a sorrowful or gladsome 
nature, were ever successfully portrayed at 
the actual time of its existence. It is from 
recollection or from imagination that men 
chiefly paint; they gather more from the 
Past and the Future than from the Present. 
The most melancholy work I ever com- 
posed . . . . " 

" ' Retrospections !' " cried Evelyn, almost 
involuntarily; " it is one of my greatest 
favourites !" 

Mr. Sherborne looked at her and smiled. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 135 

" You are a strange persou," said he ; 
" you seem to know almost as much about 
my works as I do myself. But you afford 
another proof of what I was about to observe 
— that the happiest and most peaceful out- 
ward circumstances oftentimes dispose the 
mind to its saddest moods, and that those 
who are the most cheerful at heart frequently 
incline most to writings that breathe a grave 
and searching philosophy. You will perhaps 
be surprised to hear that those * Retrospec- 
tions' were written during the most lovely 
summer I ever remember, when I was full of 
health and spirits, free, and at peace. My 
time was my own, and I spent it in my own 
way — a way that would seem passing strange 
to some. 

" There was a stream near the old farm-house 
where I was living, and a picturesque mill. My 
mornings were passed chiefly under the shade 
of the birch and weeping- willows that overhung 
the water. Sometimes I have lingered for a 



] 36 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

whole day together within hearing of that 
mill !...! often catch myself striving to recal 
those days — ^the beautiful sights and sounds 
that filled my eyes with light and my ears 
with melody in that sequestered spot — the 
dreamy delight of the summer noons — the 
serenity of the evenings — and, above all, the 
solemn glory of the calm and illumined night ! 
...It was that spot that gave rise to ' Retro- 
spections r " 

Evelyn was silent. Her eyes were full of 
tears ; and she half turned away that he might 
not see them. 

" I fear, I weary you," he said at length ; 
" these are not subjects indeed for such a 
scene as this." 

" Oh, do not say so !" interrupted Evelyn, 
for once forgetting her timidity in the eager- 
ness of the moment. " I could go on listening 
for ever" .... 

As she raised her glorious eyes towards 
him, he perceived the tears that hung upon 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 137 

their fringes, and be gazed upon her with a 
surprise not unmixed with compassion. 

** Surely the life you lead must be very 
distasteful to you," he said at length. " Yours 
is not a mind to interest itself in the frivolous 
occupations, the worse than frivolous objects, 
of the society you move in ! . . . Can it be so ?'* 

" You will despise me, I know," she re- 
plied, with ingenuousness ; " but I fear it does, 
or, at least, has done. But, oh ! how paltry 
— how unprofitable, does the life I have lately 
led seem to me now !" 

" Strive then to render it as little so as 
possible. You seem strangely to have escaped 
the pollution of society hitherto ; you may do 
so still. Teach yourself to look at the things 
which surround you in their true light ; not 
as they are generally regarded. Look to their 
termination /" 

" You remind me of what was said to me 
some time ago by a sister of mine, far supe- 
rior to myself — ' Think of the end !* " 



138 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" She was right. The end must be the 
point to aim at, where all life is clearly but 
the means to it, a preparation for it. I seem 
to be takino: strano^e liberties with one I know 
SO little, but it is partly your own fault ; you 
have encouraged me to talk to you in this 
manner. If I weary you, you must stop 
me " 

There was no fear of her being wearied. 
Swiftly — too swiftly — passed the moments, 
whilst he continued to speak of those grave 
and lofty themes in which his soul delighted ; 
and she listened entranced ! 

How strange was their discourse ! How 
passing strange would it have seemed to those 
assembled there ! They were in the midst of 
mirth, and glitter, and frivolity — the world was 
before them and around them ; but their talk 
was of things above the world — the dim and 
the unseen — the mighty and undiscoverable 
Future, Never perhaps had such words been 
uttered in that spot before ! — never certainly 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 139 

in the midst of such an assemblage !... Strange 
power of the Spirit, that can elevate it above 
material things, that it may wander in regions 
where it cannot always rest ! 

At length, however, Evelyn was recalled to 
the scene around her ; for in the midst of her 
conversation with Mr. Sherborne, she per- 
ceived the Duke approaching. There was no 
escape this time. In vain she strove to avoid 
his eye — to move in a contrary direction — he 
had soon made his way to her, and, with a 
glance of satisfaction at the bouquet which 
she held in her hand, he began to pay his 
usual homage of hackneyed and tiresome com- 
pliments with more than his usual self-suffi- 
ciency. But she was not in a mood to receive 
either them or himself very graciously ; never 
had she felt so little disposed to look favour- 
ably on him ; never had she been so struck 
with the frivolity, the fadeur of those petits 
riens he was supposed to utter with so much 
grace. She could hardly listen to him with 



140 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

common politeness, and her weariness and 
preoccupation were so apparent that at last 
even he could not fail to be struck with them. 

Finding it impossible to elicit from her 
more than the shortest and most absent re- 
plies, he at length determined to try the 
effect of pique upon her. Leaving her 
abruptly, he devoted himself for the rest of 
the day to the beautiful Lady Katherine 
Stanhope, little dreaming how unaffectedly 
grateful Evelyn felt to him for doing so, since 
it afforded her the happiness of another short 
half-hour's conversation with Mr. Sherborne, 
whose movements she had anxiously watched 
during the prosing of the Duke, fearful lest, 
in replying to the greetings of one after 
another of his friends, he should move away 
entirely out of her reach. 

In the course of the conversation which 
took place between them afterwards, he men- 
tioned some grave, and one or two even ab- 
struse works, which he strongly recommended 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 141 

her to read, conceiring they might be useful 
to a mind ardent and inquiring as hers seemed 
to be. He told her the effect they had pro- 
duced upon his own, when, as was now her 
case, the vast regions of knowledge lay un- 
discovered before him, and he had paused, as 
it were, on their confines, with a spirit burn- 
ing to explore their glowing paths, yet doubt- 
ful where to enter or what clue to follow ! . . . 
And, whilst he spoke thus, such was the 
gentleness of his tone, the simplicity of his 
manner, that she forgot who it was that was 
addressing her ; his celebrity, his genius — she 
felt, as it were, raised for the moment to his 
level, and possessed of a mind capable of en- 
tering into and comprehending his. 

That evening, a powerful interest, a sweet 
and mysterious sympathy, sprang up between 
the beautiful girl and the lofty and meditative 
philosopher ! From that day, they understood 
one another, and a new and bright era com- 
menced in the life of one of them. 



142 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

i suoi pensieri in lui dormir non ponno. 

Tasso. 

And from that hour did she with earnest thought 

Heap knowledge 

Shelley. 

Je suis au desespoir que 1' amour me contraigne 
A pousser des soupirs 

CORNEILLE. 

" Strange !" said Arthur Sherborne, as he 
rode homewards, suffering his horse to saunter 
on as it listed — " Strange ! that such a mind 
should spring up, as it were, untaught ! un- 
tutored ! . . . . This world is full of mysteries, 
but such as this is perhaps as strange as 
any .... How mistaken I was in her ! — and it 
is not the first time my judgment has thus 
erred. I fancied her vain, worldly, ambi- 



EVELYN HARCO JRT. 143 

tious. . . .Wdl ! it is humiliating to one like 
me to discover what she is ! 

*' Strange, indeed ! — How one longs to know 
the reason of such vast mental disproportion 
as one sees every where around ! — to learn 
what shall be the destiny, the scope, if I may 
so term it, of some minds hereafter ! There 
does seem to be as vast a distance between 
individual minds amon^r men as we mio^ht 
fancy to exist between the angels and the 
highest of our species. 

" Oh ! that we could look beyond the veil ! — 
but none ever did so ... . and the wisdom of 
thus limiting our vision is so evident, that it 
should satisfy even those who have not faith 
and submission to wait without a question. 

" One thing is sure ; whatever may be our 
lot above, it is above we should aspire whilst 
here. No spirit ever soared too much ; none 
can become less fit for heaven by keeping 
heaven in view. 

** I am orlad I have seen her. What a mass 



144 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of follies, and worldliness, and vanity that 
has sickened one's very soul, does the sight of 
such a creature redeem in one's eyes ! — so 
simple, so earnest, so pure ! 

*' But she will lose her freshness . . . .young 
as she is, she can never withstand the de- 
basinof influences around her. How she has 
continued what she is, up to this time, is in- 
conceivable to me ! But there are some 
spirits that Heaven does seem peculiarly to 
nourish and inspire with its own truth. 

" What a sin to sacrifice her to any of the 
heartless roues that are hemming her in ! . . 
yet such will be her fate, no doubt... She will 
be forced into it ; for Lady Truro, if I mistake 
not, is ambitious amongst the most ambitious 
. . . The Duke of Shetland, perhaps. . .Yes . . 

•' How different was her manner to me to- 
day from what it has been of late ! What 
can be the cause?. ...not caprice ; — she is in- 
capable of that ! . . Perhaps, Lady Truro may 
object to my acquaintance ! . . . yet why ? 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 145 

The World's voice — fashion — is for me, and 
I suspect her ear is open to no other . . . It 
is possible indeed that she may fear .... but 
I have given her no cause ; and every one 
knows I am not a man to marry ! 

"How radiant that countenance! how happy ! 
Never have I beheld her look so beautiful as 
to-day .... Her spirit was awakened as I have 
never seen it before ! 

" And I will continue to awaken it, if I have 
the power. Yes ; it is worth much to arrest 
even but for a time the progress of the evil 
that is hanging over her — to protect one so 
innocent, so helpless .... 

"Never did I meet before with so ingenuous 
a mind — one so utterly ignorant of guile, so 
unsuspicious of evil ! . . . One may gaze into 
its clear depths as into a glassy lake, and see 
all calm and serene below. And just as the 
soft breath of the west wind gently ripples 
the surface of such tranquil waters,. so does 
her soul tremble and thrill with emotion at 

VOL. I. H 



1 46 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

every noble thought, every inspiring idea, 
every generous and enthusiastic sentiment 
.... What ecstasy to awaken such in one 
single immortal being ! to call forth tones of 
melody which have remained unuttered before ! 
— -to have the power, as to-day, by one word 
to raise a soul far above this miry world on 
which our feet tread ! . . . 

"How her beautiful spirit answered to every 
touch !....once, her eyes filled with tears — 
I am sure it was so ! When I spoke of the 
summer I passed at Blenden .... Perhaps 
she felt at that moment how heartless, how 

worldly her cousin but no ! She is far 'too 

guileless herself to read the heart of Lady 
Truro ! — that heart is at present to her a 
sealed book — and long, long may it continue 
so ! . . . . She loves her too — loves her with all 
the warmth and gratitude of her own ardent 
affections. . . .And it may be years before she 
discovers the true nature of a worldly heart ! 
Well, be it so ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 147 

" Will she read the books I spoke of ?...She 
means to do so. — She was sincere in her pro- 
mises, at least ! . . . . 

"We shall see " 



Such were the thoughts that passed through 
the mind of Arthur Sherborne, as he slowly 
returned towards London ; whilst many a 
brilliant equipage, filled with gaily-dressed 
ladies and sleepy children, rolled by him un- 
heeded on its way to the great city. 



From this time, Evelyn found no difficulty 
in conversing with Mr. Sherborne ; she had 
plenty to say to him about the books she had 
been reading, plenty of questions to ask and 
difficulties to submit to him ! He found she 
had indeed kept her word about the works he 
had recommended her to read. She had pro- 
cured them all the very day after her conver- 
sation with him. 

As for Lady Truro, she could make no 

h2 



] 48 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

thing of the change that had come over her 
young cousin all at once. Evelyn seemed to 
be always reading now — always poring over 
books — not novels, nor anything of a light or 
entertaining description, but the driest and 
most uninteresting productions that could be 
imagined. Lady Truro set it all down to 
caprice, as she invariably did every thing that 
was incomprehensible to her ; but it was a 
caprice of a very strange sort, and one that 
she sincerely hoped would soon pass off; for it 
was not very likely to increase Evelyn's chance 
of making a brilliant match this year ; and 
indeed, in her opinion, her spirits were already 
beginning to be affected by so much dry study. 
In the mean time, she herself continued 
feverish and unwell; and Evelyn could not 
help suspecting that mind was in some way 
connected with her malady, and that there 
was some inward anxiety continually preying 
upon hers, which prevented her from rallying 
as she ought to do. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 149 

Lord Truro was less than ever at home; 
hut there was reason to believe that, on one 
occasion lately, a serious dispute of some kind 
had taken place between him and his wife. 
He had darted out of the house in a state of 
great apparent excitement, and she had retired 
to her own room, where she had remained alone 
during the rest of the evening, upon the plea 
of indisposition, refusing even to admit Eve- 
lyn. Evelyn had naturally felt uneasy at this, 
and she had questioned Deschamps; but 
Deschamps could tell nothing positive, though 
she sighed, and winked, and talked a great 
deal about the '* torrent de larmes " that 
Madame la Marquise had shed, and her own 
fears that Monsieur le Marquis was " ires 
mauvais sujet /" 

The next morning, when Evelyn indistinctly 
alluded to the scene that had taken place, 
Lady Truro silenced her at once, by begging 
in the most earnest manner that she would 
never make the slightest allusion to it again 



150 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

— never even mention that evening in her 
presence ! 

" And I am to see you wretched and 
anxious !" returned Evelyn, with considerable 
warmth, " and yet to remain even more igno- 
rant of the cause than Deschamps. I am to 
be made a stranger of, in short, as though I 
were indifferent whether you were happy or 
miserable ! But I can guess I — I know very 
well that Lord Truro...." 

" Hush, hush !" cried her cousin, impera- 
tively. " Not a word about Lord Truro, 
You know nothing, and you must continue to 
know nothing." Then, taking Evelyn's hand 
in her own, she added in a softer voice, and 
not without some emotion, " I appreciate all 
your kindness, your affectionate regard for 
me ; and trust me, my love, I would more 
gladly open my heart to you, than you would 
listen to what I might disclose ; but it is out 
of the question ; and I am wrong even to 
allude thus remotely to the subject. You 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 151 

must be kind to me in my own way. You 
must bear with me as I am. You must bear 
to see me anxious and wretched, (for I am 
both) and not inquire the cause." 

Since that time, Lady Truro's spirits had 
been exceedingly variable, and her strength 
had appeared to diminish. She was obliged 
to give up the office of chaperon altogether, 
and Evelyn was entrusted to the care of Lady 
Belharris and one or two others, whose posi- 
tion in society was pre-eminent, and whose 
prudence could be relied upon. By this 
means, Lady Truro continued in ignorance of 
her attachment to Mr. Sherborne ; an attach- 
ment which could not possibly have passed 
unnoticed by her, had she continued to ac- 
company her young cousin into the world. 

The fervour of Evelyn's love was indeed 
each day increasing ; but the dream of happi- 
ness in which she had of late been indulging 
was beginning to be chequered by moments 
of anxious fear, of miserable uncertainty, as 



152 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

to his feelings. Was she beloved ?.... Alas ! 
she had no reason to think so ! That Mr. 
Sherborne liked her, that she had excited an 
interest in his mind far greater than he felt 
for a mere common acquaintance, that he 
took pleasure in meeting her, in talking to 
her, she felt convinced ; but more than this, 
alas ! she dared not hope. 

In vain she sought to discover his feelings 
with regard to his cousin. Lady Annette. 
That she loved him, there could not be the 
smallest doubt : Evelyn had been introduced 
to her, and she had seen enough of her man- 
ner to Mr. Sherborne, clear-sighted as she 
was now become, to feel convinced that love 
was not wanting, on that side at least. On 
the other.... she could not tell. 

Sometimes would come a moment of ex- 
quisite hope ! A smile from him, a look, a 
word of kindness, would raise her into such a 
heaven of joy, that she would feel as if no- 
thing could ever depress her again — nothing 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 153 

shake her confidence ! But then dark mo- 
ments too soon succeeded, and her cheek 
would burn and her spirit shrink within her 
at the consciousness of her own love, and the 
terrible fear lest that love should be unre- 
turned. Who can describe the shame of 
these sensations ? the contempt of herself, the 
utter prostration of spirit she occasionally 
experienced ? 

And then would come intervals of pride, 
towering pride ; when she resolved to treat him 
with coldness ; to prove to him that he was 
nothing to her; that, if A^ were indifferent, 
others were at her feet ! 

She often wondered at herself for the state 
of thoughtless happiness in which she had 
revelled during the first weeks of their ac- 
quaintance ; when, ignorant as yet of her own 
love, she had rested in the dreamy delight of 
the present, and never cast a thought beyond, 
when the mere hope of seeing him to-morrow 
had been joy enough for to-day ; and to read 

H 5 



154 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

his works, and ponder over every word he had 
uttered, was sufficient to fill her soul with 
light and gladness ! Now,.,-. 

" I could bear it all," would she say to 
herself, when brooding in solitude over her 
own bitter reflections, " were it not that I 
feel as if I had been guilty of a crime !...And 
yet — what wrong have I done ? I know not. 
Weak I have been ; but I cannot accuse my- 
self of one single thought, or act, that is 
worthy to be condemned. How is it, then, 
that I have sunk so low in my own esteem ? 
Surely, I am in fact less despicable now than 
I was before I knew him ! My mind has 
been ennobled ; my objects have become less 
trifling, less vain, less worldly ; a portion of 
his spirit has passed within me, and I am 
better than I was ! Why cannot I always 
think so ? 

'' I cannot blame hhn. No ; whatever I 
may suffer, I can accuse him of nothing. He 
has never, directly or indirectly, sought to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 155 

win my love. — And yet I love him.... how I 
blush to acknowledge it even to myself ! 

" Sometimes I long to open my heart to 
some one, to seek for counsel, for sympathy. 
But who is there that could afford it? — not 
Barberina, certainly. She has enough to bear 
in her own sorrows ; sorrows in which I am 
allowed no share!. ..and she could not enter 
into mine. 

" Perhaps, if Helen were here .... but I 
know not whether even to her I could brintr 
myself to confess my weakness, my degrada- 
tion. — And yet, surely there can be no degra- 
dation in loving one like him — one so far 
above all the rest of the world ! Who but 
must worship such astonishing intellect — such 
lofty and inspiring genius ! . . . Ah ! to love 
such a being must ennoble one's own nature : 
then what would it be to possess his love"... 



156 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER IX. 

With no distracting world to call her off 
From love. 

Bi'RON. 

What did that sudden sound bespeak? 

* * * * 

There sate a lady. 

Byron. 

It is that settled, ceaseless gloom 
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore, 

That will not look beyond the tomb, 
And cannot hope for rest before. 

Childe Harold. 

The boys had left Oriel, and Helen was 
astonished to find how much she missed them. 
She had participated in most of their amuse- 
ments ; she had ridden, and walked, and 
fished with them ; and she had found little or 
no time during their stay for those quiet 
readino's to which she had been accustomed. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 157 

And now she found that she had strangely 
got out of the habit of these. If she tried 
to fix her attention to some book that had 
formerly interested her, she perceived her 
thoughts insensibly wandering back to the 
events of the last few weeks, and with a keen 
and continual regret she wished she could 
recal them ; and, what was very remarkable, 
she found she thought less of the cousins 
whom she had known so long, and who were 
really become so companionable, than she did 
of Captain Percy, their uncle, whom till lately 
she had never beheld. 

Captain Percy was a half-brother of Mrs. 
Harry Bridge's, and many years her junior. 
He was one of those persons who seem to 
possess a peculiar charm, a nameless some- 
thing, that irresistibly attract the good will 
of strangers, and command the affection of 
friends. He was the most popular man in 
his regiment, and he was almost worshipped 
by his own family. Even Mrs. Harry, crabbed 



158 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and queer as she was, delighted in him ; and 
no one had any thing but a kind word to say 
for Fred Percy. He was so high-minded, so 
kind-hearted, so generous ! Poor though he 
was, he yet, somehow or other, always con- 
trived to keep a few pounds in reserve to lend 
to a friend in case of need. If any one wanted 
help or kindness, Fred Percy was sure to be 
applied to ; his heart overflowed with bene- 
volence and good-will towards all the world, 
and it was literally out of his nature to do a 
selfish or an unfriendly thing. 

It was remarkable how completely he gave 
the tone to his regiment ; he had acquired a 
kind of authority by the mere influence of his 
amiable and excellent qualities. His word 
was a species of law. " Fred Percy says so 
and so," was sufficient to establish any thing 
as an undoubted fact. If Fred Percy thought 
proper to notice such a one, it was a signal 
for his brother officers to vie with each other 
in noticing him too ; and if Fred Percy gave 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 159 

it as his opinion that such a step ought to 
be taken, no objection that could be raised 
against it was allowed to have the slightest 
weight. In short, no one was ever so much 
liked as Fred Percy, and no one ever deserved 
better to be so. 

Without being strictly handsome, he had 
one of the pleasantest and most attractive 
countenances in the world, bright as the sun- 
shine, and open as the day. Nature had 
written his character in her own clear and 
undeniable language on his countenance ; and, 
to crown the whole, he was gifted with one 
of the most melodious voices in the world, a 
very captivating thing by the way, whether 
in man or woman, and one which not unfre- 
quently stands in lieu of good looks. 

Perhaps, after this description, my readers 
will not be surprised, whatever Helen might 
be, that she found her thoughts more fre- 
quently recurring to Captain Percy, and his 
sayings and doings during the last fortnight, 



160 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

than to those graver studies in which she had 
formerly taken so much delight. During this 
fortnight, they had been almost constant com- 
panions. He had come, at first, intending 
only to remain a day or two ; but he had been 
so much pleased with Oriel and its inhabi- 
tants, as well as with the various amusements 
it afforded, that he had gladly accepted the 
hospitable invitation of the old couple to re- 
main as long as he possibly could ; and nothing 
but a positive engagement, which he could not 
forego, had induced him to depart when he 
did. Helen's soft blue eyes and gentle 
smile were becoming each day more capti- 
vating to him, and he would willingly have 
lingered yet for many a day by her side. On 
the banks of the clear stream, or hanging 
idly over the rustic bridge, or riding, or wan- 
dering far into the woods, or making excur- 
sions to Bridge Priory, and other lovely spots 
in the neighbourhood, they had been ever 
together ; and such companionship soon pro- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 6 1 

duces intimacy, and intimacy interest. They 
learnt thus more of one another's heart and 
mind in a single fortnight, than they would 
have done for years in a crowded city ; and 
all they learnt tended to draw them closer 
together. It ended in their separating with 
great regret on both sides ; on his, perhaps, 
the most, because he could better analyze his 
feelings than she could hers. 

Since his departure, every thing seemed to 
have undergone a change in her eyes — every 
thing had become " stale, flat, and unpro- 
fitable." She felt a void, greater even than the 
loss of Evelyn had occasioned, and it was the 
more irksome, because she could not under- 
stand, or rather, to speak more correctly, she 
would not admit to herself the cause of it. 

Her chief pleasure now consisted in taking 
the longest possible walks in all directions 
round Oriel. It was pleasant to come home 
quite tired out, for that generally ensured her 
peaceful sleep afterwards ; and she had lately 



162 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

been initiated into the unwelcome secret of 
restless and wakeful nights. Evelyn and she 
had always been accustomed to ramble about 
unattended in every direction around their 
sequestered home, and she had no fears. 

One beautiful day, when she had wandered 
a good deal further than usual, feeling fa- 
tigued, she sat down under a hedge to rest 
for a short time, and, taking out her book, 
opened it with a resolute determination to 
read attentively for once. But it would not 
do ! In a few minutes, she detected herself 
watching the smoke of a neighbouring cot- 
tage, as it slowly wreathed itself into the air, 
and disappeared in the tranquil expanse ; 
whilst her thoughts had flown back to Captain 
Percy, and she was recalling, for the hun- 
dredth time, the expression of his counte- 
nance, and the fervent pressure of his hand, 
when he had bidden her farewell. 

But, in the midst of her reverie, she was 
suddenly startled by hearing a faint low groan 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 163 

on the other side of the hedge. She listened 
attentively. Yes, there was another — a deep 
groan, expressive of intense suffering of some 
kind, and it sounded like a woman's voice. 
She called aloud, inquiring who was there, 
and what was the matter ; but, receiving no 
reply, she looked round for some aperture, by 
which she might penetrate to the other side 
of the hedge, and, perceiving a gate at some 
little distance, she ran to it. In another mo- 
ment she was in a meadow, and close to some 
one sitting on the ground ; a lady, apparently 
to judge by her dress ; but the face of this 
person was totally concealed by her bonnet, 
as she bent her head down nearly upon her 
knees. Helen paused a moment, uncertain 
how to address her ; but it was clear that she 
was in distress of some kind, and the gentle 
girl's desire to aid her soon overcame her 
timidity. 

" You are unhappy," said she; " can I do 
nothing to comfort you ?" 



164 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

The person thus addressed raised her head 
at these words, and disclosed to view a face 
by no means devoid of traces of beauty, but 
so care-worn, so expressive of suffering, that 
it was painful to look upon. She fixed her 
eyes gloomily on Helen, and replied with 
apparent effort — 

'^ You mean kindly, no doubt ; but pass 
on ; no one can comfort me." 

" Do not say so," returned Helen, touched 
by the expression of hopeless misery these 
words conveyed ; " if I cannot comfort, may 
I not sympathize with you ?" 

" You cannot sympathize with what you 
never felt." 

" I do not wish to intrude upon your grief, 
believe me ; but surely...." 

" Young lady, your face is gentle," inter- 
rupted the other, " and I can believe you 
would gladly soothe any sorrow if you could ; 
but I would not grieve your heart — no ! — nor 
shock your young eyes, by the knowledge and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 165 

sight of what one human being may suffer, 
and not die !" 

She rose as she uttered these words, and 
Helen, awed by her manner, continued silent. 
She felt as though she had been guilty of 
presumption in talking of sympathy to one of 
whose grief she knew nothing. 

" Am I wrong in imagining it is Miss 
Eridge I am addressing?" inquired the 
stranger, courteously. Then, as Helen ti- 
midly assented, she continued — 

" Are you not unusually far from your own 
own home ? — can I be of any use to you ? If 
you want a guide, I can easily furnish you 
with one." 

'' Oh, no !" replied Helen ; " I can find 
my own way back ; I am accustomed to take 
long walks alone. But is it possible that you 
live near here, madam ? I thought there was 
no house within ten miles of Oriel, of which 
we did not know the owners — at least, by 



166 EVELYN H ARCOURT. 

" I am little known, and I do not wish to 
be more so," replied the other hastily ; — then, 
conscious that there was something ungracious 
in this reply, she added gently, " My abode 
is an humble one, and it does not even belong 
to me — you may have heard of it ! — the 
Penrhyns' farm-house." 

" Oh yes, I know it. — They are excellent 
people." 

" They are. There is my domicile, chosen 
for the sake of its retirement — its privacy. 
My wish — my object — is to be alone." 

As she uttered these words in a tone of 
cold and concentrated misery, that fell with 
a chill upon Helen's spirit, she moved on a 
few paces, as though desirous to depart. A 
moment after, however, she paused, and 
said, with painful effort, ** Though I have 
refused your sympathy so churlishly, as 
it must appear to you, I am not ungrate- 
ful for it. Yours is a kind heart, I am 
sure; and I trust that sorrow, when it 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 167 

comes to you, may be of a gentle species, 
softening jour spirit, but not blighting it. — 
Farewell !" 

'^ And am I to see no more of a neiofhbour 
I have discovered thus accidentally ?" 

" No — do not attempt it. You are too 
young yet to grow familiar with the sight of 
grief. Go home — go home, young lady ; and, 
as you look upon the blue sky above you, 
pray earnestly that you may never learn to 
grieve with a sorrow that not even a placid 
scene like this could soothe." 

She slowly departed ; leaving Helen full of 
compassion, wonder, and curiosity, to know 
more of so sino^ular a beinof. She watched 
her till she had disappeared among the trees, 
and then turned in the contrary direction, 
pondering within herself what species of 
affliction it could be that thus defied all con- 
solation, and refused all confidence. 

As she sauntered along, lost in thought, she 
came rather suddenly upon a neat, white- 



168 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

washed farm-house, the door of which stood 
invitingly open. Two or three children were 
playing near, and a respectable-looking woman 
was nursing her baby on the threshold. 
Helen paused ; for it struck her that here she 
might learn something more of the singular 
being who had so strongly excited her inter- 
est. Being invited to enter, and having ac- 
cepted the offer of a draught of milk, she 
described her meeting with the strange lady, 
and inquired who she was. 

The woman shook her head at first, and 
looked solemn and mysterious ; but, being 
pressed to reply, she told, by degrees, all she 
knew of the stranger. 

" The lady's name was Howard," she said, 
" and she had been living there about four- 
teen months. She had come alone — without 
even a servant, and had first spent a few 

weeks at the little inn at LI . But, not 

liking the noise, nor the dirt of the place, — (it 
was dirty, every one knew) — and wishing to 



o 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 169 

get into some house where she could be waited 
upon by the family, she had applied to the 
Penrhyns, who had at first refused to receive 
her, knowing nothing of her. But she had 
at last somehow got over old Master Penrhyn, 
who was a kind-hearted old soul, 'specially 
to those in trouble ! and the missis not much 
less, for that matter ; — and they had taken in 
the poor soul. She had two small rooms to 
herself — astonishin snug ! and she paid for 
them, the missis said, as reg'lar as the clock ! 
She lived quite alone ; and 'times for weeks 
together, she would not leave the house; 
others, she would wander about the place, 
like as it seemed she had a-done to-day — and 
sit under the trees a-bemoanino' of herself, 
till it made a body 'most foolish to hear 
her !" 

" And did nobody know the reason of her 
grief?" 

" No ! not a creature. Some thought she 
was not altogether in her right mind, though 

VOL. I. 1 



1 70 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

quite harmless, poor lady ; but many con- 
sidered it was more like something on her 
conscience, that wouldn't let her rest, day nor 
night. Her spirits varied too. 'Times, when 
the fits was not on her, she would be cheerful 
like, a-noticing of Mrs. James's little folks, and 
in particklar the babby ! She was very partial 
to the babby !" 

" Did no one ever come to see her?" 
" No one, as was ever heard tell on. She 
couldn't abide a strange face, and she seemed 
to have no folks of her own. The missis 
thought she were a widder, for she always 
wear black — but no one could say positive, 
for she never spoke of her own matters. But 
her low fits ! Oh ! they was dreadful ! 
'Times she would sit in a stupor, like, and take 
no notice; and 'times she would cry, fit to 
break her heart ; and 'times she would moan ! 
The moaning was the worst, because that did 
seem unnatural, like, and not what a Christian 
should do. But every one was sorry for her ; 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 171 

for she was quite harmless, and very thankful, 
the family said, to be let stay with them." 

Such were the chief particulars that Helen 
collected from the farmer's wife; and they 
inspired her with a strange desire to minister 
to the comfort of one so forlorn. The whole 
manner and appearance of the lady — (for 
that she was one Helen had no doubt) — did 
not convey the idea of anything like insanity. 
Her language was good, her manner calm, 
and even commanding ; and there w^as some- 
thing in her whole demeanour which betokened 
superiority of mind as well as station. 

During the rest of that day, Helen did little 
else but ponder over this strange adventure, 
and consider wuthin herself how she could 
contrive, without intrusion, to show kindness 
and sympathy to this lonely being ; for, that 
sympathy would end by becoming welcome, 
even if it were not so at first, she could not 
but feel certain, in spite of her assurances to 
the contrary. 

1 2 



1 72 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

After much thought, she determined, in 
the first place, to make acquaintance with the 
Penrhyns, excellent people whom she knew 
well by name, though they lived too far from 
Oriel to admit of the friendly intercourse 
and constant exchange of visits that passed 
between the Erido^es and all those in their 
immediate neighbourhood. It was not long 
before she had established herself on a most 
amicable footing with this w^orthy family, 
which consisted of many members of all ages, 
living together in a primitive and indeed 
almost patriarchal manner. She confided to 
" the missis" — as the old Mrs. Penrhyn was 
generally called — her earnest desire to be of 
some use to their afflicted inmate ; and the 
good woman fully entered into the wish. 

" They were all fond of the poor lady," 
she said ; *' for she was a gentle, harmless 
creature, and whatever might have been her 
faults in past times, she suffered heart-sorrow 
enough for them now — there could be no 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 173 

doubt of that ! For her own part, she had 
once believed her crazed, but she thought so 
no longer ; so far from that, she looked upon 
her with peculiar reverence, as one whom God 
had thought fit to afflict above most, doubtless 
for His own wise ends. She was now inclined 
to think it was more owing to constitutional 
low spirits, than to any particular cause, that 
she grieved !" 

Helen soon discovered that the Recluse was 
fond of flowers ; and the day of this discovery 
was a happy one to her ! There were flowers 
in the Penrhyns' garden, to be sure, and Mrs. 
James's and Mrs. Owen's children would often 
gather her some ; but there were better ones 
at Oriel ; and she should have the best. Helen 
might now be seen constantly hastening along 
in the direction of Wynnesland with a basket 
containing fruit and flowers ; — and though it 
was a long, long way to walk, and it had 
become dull from its familiarity, she found 
herself more frequently bending her steps in 



174 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

that direction than in any other. It was so 
pleasant to think she was the means of afford- 
ing even so slight a gratification to the soli- 
tary sufferer ! Her good offices, too, might 
not stop here. 

They did not. " The missis " one day hinted 
that she thought a few books might be an 
amusement to Mrs. Howard ; " she had but 
few of her own, and she must know them all 
by heart." The next morning Helen arrived 
with a packet of books — the best she could 
select from the Oriel library ; and Mrs. James 
undertook to leave them casually, as it were, 
in the lady's room when she took up her 
tea. 

There was good news for Helen two days 
after ; some of the books had been read, and 
Mrs. Howard had inquired who had left them. 
Perhaps she had seen the Eridge coat- of- arms 
in them — but she seemed to know they came 
from a distance. Encouraged by this success, 
Helen brought more, when those had been 



EVELYN H ARCOURT. 175 

read ; and oh ! how happy was she in these 
expeditions ! She was contributing to the 
comfort of a fellow-creature, and one so sorely 
stricken ! This new pursuit, this new interest, 
had served to divert her mind from itself; she 
no longer felt the time hang heavy, nor the place 
uninteresting ; she no longer recurred to her 
separation from Evelyn with bitterness, nor 
to the idea of Captain Percy with something 
almost amounting to shame. She had hope 
for every body; — hope that Evelyn might 
come out of the furnace of the world bright 
and unchanged — and as for Captain Percy ! — 
she had hopes connected with him too, but 
they were of so vague a nature, that perhaps 
she could scarcely have defined them even to 
herself. 

One day, when she made her appearance at 
Wynnesland with her usual basket of flowers 
and books, she was not a little surprised to 
find that the Recluse had desired to see her 
the next time she called. She had inquired 



176 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

who it was that brought so many things with 
such kind regularity, and when informed that 
it was Miss Bridge herself, she had betrayed 
considerable emotion, and even shed a few 
tears. 

The interview was touching. The young 
girl felt timid in the presence of one upon 
whom she had in a manner forced obligations, 
and the thanks expressed by the other were 
painful to her to listen to. She rejoiced when 
it was over. The ice was now broken, and 
henceforth, she trusted, they would be friends. 
And who could tell what she might not be 
able to effect, in raising that crushed spirit ? 

The more she saw of the lady, the more she 
felt convinced that her position in life had been 
one of great respectability; though nothing 
could be more simple than her dress, her ap- 
pearance, and everything belonging to her. 
She was essentially lady-like. It was clear 
that her associates had not been people of low 
minds, nor even of inferior station. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 177 

Helen's visits to her soon became regular. 
There were days indeed, and these were many, 
when the dark fits were upon her, when even 
Helen could not be admitted ; — but the Pen- 
rhyns thought — could it be fancy ? — that the 
intervals of peace were becoming somewhat 
longer ! Oh ! what happy news for Helen ! 

Their interviews would have seemed singular 
to most people. Mrs. Howard never spoke of 
herself, or at least but rarely : in the presence 
of her young companion, she always made a 
strong effort to appear cheerful — to converse 
upon such topics as might be interesting at 
her age. One so gentle, so innocent as Helen 
should have no shadow cast upon her spirit by 
the forlorn being whom she had striven to 
benefit. At first, these efforts had been in- 
expressibly painful to the Recluse, but the 
very struggles they had cost her had, without 
her being conscious of it, proved beneficial. 
It was precisely such exertion — such tem- 
porary restraint — that her mind required ; — 

1 5 



178 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

it had too long been permitted to prey upon 
itself; and the continual indulgence, nay, the 
encouragement of her morbid melancholy, had 
tended unspeakably to increase the malady 
under which it laboured. Now, there was a 
stimulus, a motive for exertion ; gratitude 
urged her to conceal all traces of the trials 
which were wearing her heart and brain, and 
to reward the disinterested benevolence of her 
young friend, by allowing her to imagine her 
presence was a comfort. 

And real benefit soon followed where the 
semblance of it had been. The poor woman 
began to look forward with pleasure and expec- 
tation to these visits of Helen's, and to feel them 
less and less of a restraint. She still indeed 
resolutely withheld all confidence from her, 
and avoided as carefully as ever all allusion 
to her own former life ; but she began to take 
an interest in the concerns of her companion, 
and a pleasure in hearing all that related to 
her, and those dear to her. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 179 

And who can tell what sublime feelings of 
gratitude and love glowed in the bosom of 
the innocent Helen, as she perceived that her 
efforts had not been wholly vain — that she 
had in some measure smoothed the rugged 
path of this solitary being — that she was be- 
coming necessary to her ! 

It is singular that, whilst all mankind are 
searching for happiness in countless varieties 
of modes, and that the universal cry, the 
craving of all, is happiness, still happiness ! so 
few should seek it in the only manner which 
almost invariably ensures it. If there be one 
abiding dispensation of Providence more beau- 
tiful than the rest — one, proving more un- 
answerably His love and care for all — it is 
that by which He has ordained that benefits 
conferred return to those who confer them, 
and that, in working out the happiness of the 
species, the happiness of the individual shall 
ever be foun ^ . Yet, the general conduct of 
mankind would seem to imply that exactly the 



180 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

reverse were the case, and that individual 
happiness were totally inconsistent with that 
of the mass. 



Mrs. Howard was sitting one morning by her 
open window, with her little work-table be- 
fore her, thinking of Helen, and wondering 
whether she would call that day ; when Helen 
entered with a somewhat graver countenance 
than usual. 

" Something is wrong," said the lady. " I 
see it by your face, my dear. Is any one ill 
at Oriel, or have you bad news from Miss 
Harcourt ?" 

*' No ; but I am sad to think that I shall see 
you no more for a time. I am going away." 

*' Going !" cried the other, letting her work 
fall from her hands, and fixing her eyes upon 
her companion with an expression of singular 
incredulity — '^ going ! no, no ! I am not to 
lose you !" 

" For a time — only for a time. I shall 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 181 

soon be back ; but I cannot refuse to go when 
it is to see Evelyn — to wish her good bye. 
And she so unhappy too!" 

And Helen proceeded to relate that Lady 
Truro was in a very bad state of health — 
Evelyn was extremely anxious about her — 
quite uneasy ; and the doctors had ordered 
her abroad. But, before they set off, (for of 
course her favourite cousin was to accom- 
pany her) Evelyn wished to see Helen, to bid 
her good bye. Lady Truro would not hear of 
her leaving her, or she would have come down 
herself to Oriel for a few days, to bid fare- 
well to her dear parents, as she affectionately 
called them ; but if Helen could come for a fort- 
night to London, it would be such a delight ! 
She had quite set her heart upon Helen's 
coming. 

"Grandpapa has settled that I am to go 
on Thursday. Who knows when I may see 
her again ?" 

No answer was returned, and the needle 



1 8 2 EVELYN H ARCOURT. 

was still drawn out at intervals ; but Helen's 
heart swelled as she perceived the tears trick- 
ling down those very furrows, which always 
appeared to her as though they had been pro- 
duced by incessant weeping. 

" I am grieved to leave you, madam," said 
she ; " but it will not be for long." 

Mrs. Howard gently laid down her work, 
rose, and leaned out of the window for a few 
moments. Then, feeling the old sinking of 
the spirit, the well-known sensation of de- 
spair coming over her, she retreated into the 
next room, and, locking the door behind her, 
battled energetically with the foe. Helen 
listened anxiously. There were two or three 
stifled sobs — an occasional faint groan, like 
that which had arrested her attention the first 
day of their meeting, — and then, all was still. 
In about ten minutes, the door was unlocked, 
and the lady came forth, to all appearance 
calm, but with her countenance pale as death, 
and a peculiar dark circle round the eyes, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 183 

which Helen had sometimes observed before 
— but rarely. 

She advanced to the table, seated herself, 
and quietly resumed her work. 

** You are right, my dear, to go," said 
she. '* Thursday, you say ; and this is — 
what?" 

'^ Saturday, ma'am. I shall be able to 
come here again twice, at least." 

" No, my love ; you must not come again." 

" Oh, do not say so !" cried Helen, earnestly. 
" I am unwilling enough to leave you, as it is. 
Do not make our separation longer than it 
need he !" 

" The dark fit is coming," said Mrs. Howard, 
whilst a strange expression passed over her 
features. *' It is coming — and then — you 
know...." 

She paused, looked upward, and pressed 
her hands upon her bosom, like one struggling 
for breath ; but in a moment it had passed 
away. 



184 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Helen perceived that she was putting a 
mighty check upon herself. 

'- Let the dark fit come," said she, in a 
soft, low voice, " but do not drive me from 
you. Have you no confidence in me? — am I 
not your friend ?" 

" Child ! " said Mrs. Howard, solemnly. 
" You are — you have been — a friend to me, 
such as I never thought to possess in this 
world ; and I will not reward your good with 
evil. I will not make you wish to shun me." 

" I shall never wish that, under any cir- 
cumstances," said Helen, gently. " Have I 
shunned you hitherto? have I not rather 
forced myself upon you — against your will, 
indeed ?" 

The lady clasped her hands together. " But 
I tell you that you do not know me !" she ex- 
claimed, with sudden violence ; " you do not 
know me ; and I would spare you the know- 
ledge. I would warn you against myself! 
What if I should some day shock you — terrify 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 185 

your very soul?" She approached her face 
to Helen's ear, and in a sharp, hissing whisper, 
added—" What if I should be madT 

For a moment, Helen recoiled from her 
with terror ; but it was only for a moment. 
She sau^ the quivering lip, the ashy cheek, 
the agony of anxiety with which those eye- 
balls strained to catch a glimpse of what was 
passing in her mind ; and she resolved, in 
spite of all, to be true to the miserable being 
whom she had but just begun to lift from the 
depths of despair. Her countenance was 
beautiful as that of an angel, as she said, in a 
low, clear voice — 

" Fear not : I shall not be terrified. Even 
if madness should come upon you, I will not 
forsake you. But you are not mad — only 
borne down by sorrow : and if / have scarcely 
yet known what sorrow is, may I not better 
speak to you of hope ?" 

As she uttered these words, the straining 
eyes gradually sunk under her gentle gaze. 



186 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

the clinched hands relaxed, the colour slowly 
returned to the ashy and convulsed lips, and 
Mrs. Howard hid her face in her hands, and 
wept ! 

An hour or two afterwards, these two were 
sitting quietly side by side at the open win- 
dow, and Helen had just closed the Bible 
which she had been reading aloud, when, 
looking up in the face of her companion, she 
saw that it was calm and serene. 

" Yes," said Mrs. Howard, as though in 
answer to her mild appeal ; ''I think, I hope, 
the dark fit is over — for this day, at least ; 
and I can struggle on, since you promise not 
to forsake me." 

" I do promise it : and for my sake, whilst 
I am absent, strive against it, fight with it, 
pray against it ! And, above all, do not for- 
get these precious words, which have soothed 
many a heart as crushed as yours." 

As she spoke, she rose to go ; and the lady, 
taking her by the hand, blessed her fervently. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 187 

Helen never forgot that earnest, solemn 
blessing. 



She called twice afterwards before her de- 
parture, but neither time was she admitted. 
The Penrhyns said the lady had been quiet 
since Saturday, but low, very low ; and she 
had taken little notice of anything. She 
had, however, given the strictest orders that, 
if Miss Eridge called again, she should not 
be admitted : she could not bear to part from 
her, she said. 

Helen was grieved — but there was no 
remedy. She endeavoured to console herself 
by providing as far as she could for the com- 
forts of the poor recluse during her absence. 
The kind-hearted Mrs. Eridge promised to 
send her fruit, flowers, and books, regularly. 
Willingly w^ould she have undertaken to go 
to her herself; but Mrs. Howard had posi- 
tively refused all offers of this kind when 
they had been made to her through Helen ; 



188 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and there was but too much reason to fear 
that any further attempts to press kindness or 
sympathy upon her would only do harm, 
where good was intended. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 189 



CHAPTER X. 

And thus it was 

That she was pensive, nor perceived 
Her occupation .... 

Mazeppa. 

Countess. Do not you love him ? 

Helen. I confess 

Before high Heaven and you 

that next unto high Heaven 

I love him 

I know I love in vain — strive against hope .... 
AlVs Well that Ends Well. 

The effects of her fond jealousies so grieving 

That she shuts up herself .... 

Winter's Tale. 

Helen could hardly recover from her asto- 
nishment at the change which a few months 
had effected in Evelyn ; and in nothing did 
she appear so much altered as in her spirits. 
Instead of the wild and exuberant gaiety which 



] 90 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

was natural to her, she was now grave and 
thoughtful — often preoccupied — sometimes 
even melancholy. What could be the reason ? 
Lady Truro was now chiefly confined to her 
room, and Helen scarcely saw her at all ; in- 
deed, her mornings were spent very much 
alone ; for Lady Truro, with her usual selfish- 
ness, insisted on having Evelyn with her al- 
most always till luncheon-time. But, in the 
afternoons, when a few of her immediate 
clique were admitted to her, the girls were 
usually able to be together for some hours, 
and sometimes they would take a quiet walk 
in the Square ; sometimes they would drive 
out (for to the simple Helen the mere sight 
of the streets and shops was novelty and 
amusement) ; and oftener still they would 
ride with Lady Belharris, who had remained 
in town thus late, in order to attend the con- 
finement of her young sister. Lady Alfred 
Montgomery, which was now almost daily 
expected. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 191 

In these rides, they were continually meet- 
ing Mr. Sherborne ; and Helen, who had of 
course been all eagerness to make his ac- 
quaintance, was all admiration of him when 
she had done so. Her fondness for his works 
had formerly almost equalled that of Evelyn ; 
and now that she saw him, she could scarcely 
express herself strongly enough in his praise. 

" He is charming !" said she to her friend 
one day, " perfectly charming. I never saw 
such a countenance, such an eloquent, beau- 
tiful expression when he speaks ! And what 
eyes ! — surely, there never were such eyes 
before !...He is so gentle too — so unaffected ! 
I am quite surprised to find how little afraid 
of him I feel. One would never guess from 
his manner in society that he were in any way 
remarkable ; — he never seems to remember it 
liimself. He brings himself down to the 
level of the person he is talking to with such 
perfect simplicity ! He is so ready to con- 
verse on any subject! And when one re- 



192 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

members what he is Well ! he is a won- 
derful man, certainly — wonderful in all ways ! 
You did not write me half enough in his 
praise, Evelyn." 

" Yet, my fear was that you would think 
what I said so absurdly extravagant — so ex- 
aggerated !" 

" It would be quite impossible to exaggerate 
about him, it seems to me. He stands alone 
— certainly the most extraordinary man of 
his day. Surely, all the fine ladies in London 
must be raving about him !" 

Evelyn was arranging some flowers for 
Lady Truro, and her back was turned to 
Helen, as she replied, in a tone of the utmost 
indifference — 

" Possibly I never heard, it, how- 
ever." 

Helen was surprised at her cold and care- 
less manner. She remembered the enthusiastic 
admiration she had always formerly expressed 
for Mr, Sherborne's works ; and how full of 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 193 

the gifted author all her early letters had 
been ; and she had expected to find in her 
one of his most devoted admirers. But Eve- 
lyn's manner to him seemed to be decidedly 
more reserved than it was to any other person. 
Perhaps it might be that she was afraid of 
him ! 

A stransje transformation had come over 
her, and one for which there seemed no 
possible means of accounting. If she had 
grown vain, or worldly, or ambitious, Helen 
would not have wondered — if she had 
imbibed a taste for dissipation, a dislike 
to rational pursuits, it would not have been 
surprising ; — but nothing of all this had oc- 
curred. In the midst of gaiety and adulation, 
she had become sober ; and whilst surrounded 
by the glitter and turmoil of society, and 
avowedly the reigning belle of the season, 
she had first taken to quiet and literary pur- 
suits. There must be an explanation to the 
phenomenon, a clue to the mystery, Helen 

VOL. I. K 



194 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

felt convinced; and that clue she presently- 
stumbled upon by mere accident. 

They were riding in the Regent's Park one 
evening with Lady Belharris and some others, 
when they were joined by Mr. Sherborne, 
who came round to Evelyn's side, and, in the 
course of conversation with her, asked her 
some question about one of the books she 
was reading. From what followed, Helen 
soon gathered that it was by his advice these 
books were studied ; and for the first moment 
it only struck her as a little singular that 
Evelyn should never have mentioned this to 
her ; — but, suddenly, an idea came across 
her — a possibility — ^which would account for 
all — all the singularities and changes that had 
puzzled her so much. 

She watched them both narrowly during 
the remainder of the ride. Evelyn's manner 
was reserved — almost distant — towards Mr. 
Sherborne; but her cheek was unusually 
flushed, and her eye restless and disturbed ; 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 195 

and, though she seemed to answer his remarks 
with a certain constraint, Helen observed that 
she paid not the slightest attention to those 
of any other person. She even once or twice 
replied quite at random to observations made 
by others of the party, so as to excite their 
notice and astonishment. 

When Mr. Sherborne took his leave too, 
Helen, who knew her countenance so well, 
perceived that she was moved. The hand she 
held out was given awkwardly ; and, after he 
was gone, she sank into a kind of reverie, 
and made no reply to the farewell salutation 
of Lord Haverfordwest, till reminded to do so 
by Lady Belharris, who was shocked at her 
want of courtesy. 

It must be so ; there could be no doubt of it. 



" Evelyn, dear ! how cold and forbidding 
you are to Mr. Sherborne," observed Helen, 
suddenly, when they had returned home. 
" Is it possible that you dislike him ?" 

K 2 



196 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Evelyn started, as if she had been struck, 
and turned very pale. 

" Am I cold?" said she. 

The attack was too sudden — she had no time 
to parry it — no time to prepare her counte- 
nance, nor her reply. Her secret was be- 
trayed — or would be immediately. 

" I am sure he must be struck with it !'* 
continued Helen — " Is it that you dislike 
him?" 

" Dislike him ! — of course not ! Why 
should I dislike him ?" 

" Ah ! why, indeed ? — why, rather, should 
you not like him ? — Evelyn, Evelyn, I strongly 
suspect...." 

Evelyn blushed to her very temples — 

" What do you suspect?" inquired she, 
faintly. 

" I see, I need not tell you — and I am 
right, am I not ? — Ah ! why did you treat me 
with such reserve — such coldness ? — why did 
you not tell me how it was with you before, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 197 

instead of leaving me to find it out thus by 
myself? Was I not capable of sympathy — 
of discretion ? — was I not to be trusted ? . . . And 
could I blame you for loving such a man?..," 

But Evelyn could not answer. She had 
hid her face in her hands, and was weeping 
passionately. 

In a short time, however, she had confessed 
all ; — her weakness — her shame — her love ! 
She had longed to tell it all before, but had 
been unable. And now — even now — in the 
presence of the friend of her childhood — her 
more than sister — with whom, till lately, she 
had shared every thought — she felt abashed — 
humbled. No wonder ! for many a time had 
her cheek glowed with shame, even in soli- 
tude, at the thought that her love might be — 
perhaps was — unreturned ! 

Helen sought to soothe her by every means 
in her power. She could not, however, say 
the only thing that Evelyn longed to hear ; 
she had, as yet, observed no proof of love on 



198 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

his part. Interest there evidently was— real 
regard — and love might, and probably did, 
exist ; but Helen could not say she had seen 
it, and she would give no encouragement 
where she felt no certainty that encourage- 
ment ought to be given. 

But, oh ! with what interest, with what 
earnest anxiety, did she now watch Mr. Sher- 
borne for Evelyn's sake, and how she strove 
to discover those proofs of love in him which 
her calmer judgment told her she did not 
perceive ! There were times, indeed, when 
she caught his eyes fixed upon Evelyn, but 
the glance was always short, and he soon 
turned away to other objects. 

Even if there were love on his side, she 
feared it could not be the powerful and ex- 
clusive devotion that Evelyn ought to in- 
spire — that alone could satisfy imperious 
affections such as hers. 



Lady Alfred Montgomery was now con- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 199 

fined, and Lady Belharris was soon going out 
of town ; but, in the mean time, she had 
arranged a final party of pleasure, which was 
to take place previous to her departure, and 
to which the girls looked forward with some 
eagerness ; Helen, on Evelyn's account, and 
Evelyn on her own ; for both knew that Mr. 
Sherborne would be there. 

This party of pleasure was to be an expe- 
dition to ** The Paradise," a place which really 
was something like its name, belonging to 
Mr. Euston Trevor, a handsome bachelor 
about town, and a particular friend of Lady 
Belharris's. The party was to be exclusively 
hers, and she was to invite all the guests, with 
the exception of two or three men whom Mr. 
Trevor wished to ask himself. Besides Evelyn 
and Helen, there were to be Lady Annette 
Sherborne, and a young Mrs. Norman, lately 
married, and full of blushes and timidity, 
but withal beautiful as a May morning ; for 
Mr. Trevor was a notorious admirer of beauty, 



200 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and indeed his authority was at all times suf- 
ficient to establish the reputation of any 
woman as being one in the London world. 

He was one of the most agreeable and 
popular of roues^ and he really had more good 
nature and good feeling than is common to 
such persons. 

The day did not begin auspiciously for 
Evelyn. After much discussion, it was settled 
by Lady Belharris that she should go in Mrs. 
Norman's britzska, that lady having undertaken 
to convey Lord Haverfordwest and Mr. Fitz- 
roy. The truth was, Lord Haverfordwest, a 
conceited idiot, without sense or feeling, but 
withal a most unexceptionable parti, had 
hinted to Lady Belharris that he desired this 
arrangement, and she, who was really inter- 
ested for Evelyn, and wished nothing better 
than to see her well married, according to her 
own acceptation of that term, resolved to give 
the young Earl every opportunity of pro- 
posing to her, feeling quite convinced, as she 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 201 

did, that the Duke of Shetland never would 
do so. This opinion she had more than once 
hinted to Ladj Truro, but without in the 
smallest degree shaking the confidence of that 
lad J on the subject. However, as the Duke 
was now off to Scotland, to attend the death- 
bed of his uncle, who, it was supposed, might 
yet linger on some days, there seemed little 
chance of his having any opportunity of seeing 
Evelyn again before her departure for the 
continent. 

Perhaps it might be the fact of his grace's 
absence that increased the assiduity of Lord 
Haverfordwest; for, with all his conceit, he 
could hardly put his claims in competition 
with those of the first parti of the day — the 
all-conquering, and, as yet, unconquered Duke 
of Shetland. But, whatever were the cause, 
it is certain that he had now resolved on lay- 
ing siege to Evelyn in greater earnest than he 
had ever done before. 

Helen, who knew well how annoying to her 

K 5 



202 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

friend must be Lady Belharris's distribution 
of the party, did all she could — a great deal 
for so shy a person, to be allowed to go with 
Mrs. Norman in her place. But her efforts 
were fruitless ! Lady Belharris had her rea- 
sons, as we have already seen, and she over- 
ruled her at once, with that air of quiet but 
well-bred decision which a woman of the 
world knows so well how to assume, and with 
which she can at once silence and at the same 
time abash one less experienced in aplomb 
than herself. 

Poor Evelyn ! there was a cloud upon her 
spirit, which she found it impossible to dispel. 
Mrs. Norman wondered to herself whether " the 
Beauty" were always as grave and taciturn 
as on the present occasion, and thought, in her 
own mind, that Lord Haverfordwest could 
scarcely be flattered by the manner in which 
his assiduities were received. 

*' This is very unsatisfactory !" said to her- 
self the pretty bride, who, like many persons 



EVELYN HARCOURT. ?03 

that have not lived much in London, was in- 
clined to exaggerate in her own mind the 
mystery and exclusiveness of its coteries ;— 
*' perhaps I am not good enough for her — or 
perhaps she would rather have had him to 
herself with her friend in the other carriage ! 
But it was Lady Belharris's arrangement, not 
mine. — I wish George had come with us, 
instead of riding, as he would do. It would 
have been much more pleasant for me." 

To conceal her awkwardness, she directed 
as much as possible of her conversation to her 
brother, who sat opposite to her — a shy lad 
of eighteen, just entering the army; whom 
Mr. Euston Trevor had, out of good nature, 
included in his invitation; — and thus Lord 
Haverfordwest was left completely at liberty 
to bestow his platitudes upon the unlucky 
Evelyn. 

The drive seemed interminable, and the 
way to Paradise very much like purgatory — 
but it was reached at last. They found some 



204 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of the gentlemen already arrived; amongst 
others, Mr. Norman, to whom his wife in- 
stantly hurried, with a sensation of inconceiv- 
able relief, and a strong desire to make him 
at once acquainted with her troubles during 
the trajet. 

The party soon sauntered out in scattered 
groups, to amuse themselves till dinner-time 
in the gardens and grounds, which, though 
not large, were beautifully laid out. But here 
again poor Evelyn was unlucky. She had 
lingered near Lady Belharris, in the hope that 
Mr. Sherborne would approach her — but in 
vain ! What was her surprise — almost her 
indignation — to see him offer his arm to 
Helen, and disappear with her and Lady 
Annette in the shrubberies ! This was a peril- 
ous moment for Evelyn ! She was almost on 
the verge of betraying herself ! — her breath 
came quick — a mist swam before her eyes — 
and if she had not sunk down upon a seat 
which chanced opportunely to be near, she 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 205 

might almost have fallen. As it was, no one 
noticed her agitation, and she had time to re- 
cover herself in some degree before she was 
joined by Lord Haverfordwest. Then, in spite 
of her very broad hints to Lady Belharris to re- 
main with her — not to go — somehow or other, 
most unaccountably. Lady Belharris did go — 
and she was left alone with him under the 
tree ! Everybody seemed in league against 
her. — Everybody conspired to torment her ! 

" Really, Trevor is a lucky fellow," Lord 
Haverfordwest began. " What a lovely spot 
this is !" 

*' Lovely, indeed !" replied Evelyn, with 
something like asperity. " Had we not better 
do more than merely admire it from this seat? 
Lady Belharris went that way, I think." 

She rose ; Lord Haverfordwest offered his 
arm, and they walked on for some moments 
in silence. He was pondering within himself 
how to begin ; somehow or other, he felt un- 
accountably shy. Those magnificent eyes 



206 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

could look so fierce on occasion ! He rather 
dreaded them. 

He exhorted himself to remember who and 
what he was, and ditto repeated with regard 
to her. He reminded himself what a match 
he would be for her, and what a triumph for 
him to cut out his friend the Duke ! 

" E — hem ! this is really a lovely spot ! — 
E— hem !" 

" Very." 

" It makes one long to be ruralizing in the 
country. I should so like to show you Castle 
Haverfordwest, Miss Harcourt ! — E — hem ! — 
Perhaps . . . . " 

" It is in Pembrokeshire, I imagine. —Where 
can Lady Belharris be?...." 

" I shall never have such another oppor- 
tunity !" thought Lord Haverfordwest. "Now 



or never !. 



His heart beat violently. 
" You cannot but have observed. Miss Har- 
court, that...." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. S07 

** Oh yes ! I saw it from the house. The 
spire is more distinct than here, and it is very 
picturesque. Those trees might be thinned 
with advantage, however, to let in the view." 

Lord Haverfordwest was silenced. For a 
moment a doubt came across him whether 
this misunderstanding were intentional or not, 
but he soon convinced himself it could not be 
so. He must be foolishly timid ; — lovers al- 
ways were ! — 

" Here is a delicious seat !" said he. " Do 
let me persuade you to rest for a few moments, 
whilst I place myself at your feet — where — I 
would too gladly — always...." 

" I advise you not," said Evelyn, decidedly. 
" The grass looks damp, and it rained this 

morning However," she continued a moment 

after, hi a tone of almost ludicrous indifference, 
" no doubt, you are the best judge. Pray, 
have you any idea what o'clock it is ?" 

" Miss Harcourt, you torture me by this 
wilful misunderstanding of my.... You see in 



208 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

me a lover of the most devoted description 
— a slave, in short — a . . . . " 

He paused. He felt at a loss as to what 
else she might be supposed to see in him ; so, 
as he could make out nothing more, he had 
recourse to repetition. 

" In short, a lover, whose — whose happi- 
ness — L might even say whose fate hangs upon 
your will. To call you mine... . " 

" Lord Haverfordwest !" exclaimed Evelyn, 
rising with inexpressible dignity, '* I beg you 
will cease. I had not the smallest idea of 
this ; I never imagined you entertained any 
feelings of this sort. Pray let us return to 
the house ; I cannot listen further." 

'' Beautiful, bewitching, beloved being !'* 
cried Lord Haverfordwest, enchanted with his 
own apt alliteration, and making an awkward 
attempt to seize her hand, which she reso- 
lutely withheld, " Do not doom me to despair 
— to des — I was going to say to destruction I 
'pon my soul I was ! — I can't live without you ! 



EVELYN HARCOXJRT. 209 

'pon my soul I can't ! Now, my angel, 'pon 
my soul...." 

" Lord Haverfordwest, you astonish me ! 
After what I have said...." 

" Lovely being ! may I not flatter myself 
that in time at least. ...in time...." 

"Hear me, my lord!" cried Evelyn, in a tone 
that commanded his instant silence : '* I am 
amazed at your persisting in this language, 
when I have so distinctly told you it is disa- 
greeable to me. I beg it may cease at once. 
Your good opinion is flattering, no doubt, but 
I must be allowed to consult my own wishes 
and feelings, and they are decidedly unfavour- 
able to yours." 

She spoke with a tone and in a manner that 
not even he could misunderstand. 

" And am I to consider myself rejected, 
then ?" cried he, his round red face becoming 
rounder and redder with rage and astonish- 
ment ; "rejected? — L..." 

" I am sorry to give you pain, but I cannot 



S 1 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

accuse myself of ever having encouraged such 
advances as these." 

*' Miss Harcourt ! Miss Harcourt ! do not 
suppose I am blind, though I have put myself 
in your power, and enabled you to treat me 
with this contempt. You have good reasons 
for what you are doing, and it is quite clear 
to me what your aim is ! But, mark my 
words — you worCt succeed ! I'll bet half my 
income you don't catch him !" 

Evelyn's face became crimson at these 
words ; the real meaning of which she totally 
misunderstood. Imagining her secret was dis- 
covered, and overwhelmed with shame, anger, 
and confusion, she covered her face with her 
hands, and turned away. 

Just at that moment, footsteps were heard 
approaching, and Mr. Sherborne and Helen 
appeared, arm in arm, in such earnest conver- 
sation, that they were actually upon the others 
before they even perceived them. There was 
no time to retreat ; yet the confusion of both 



EVELYN UARCOURT. 211 

parties was most evident. But, even in that 
moment of hurry and excitement, Evelyn did 
not fail to perceive the blush that overspread 
the cheeks of Helen as she met her eye ; and 
an overpowering sensation of jealousy took 
possession of her own soul. 

A few awkward observations were exchanofed 
between the parties, and then the new-comers 
were hurrying off, as though conscious they 
were disturbing a tete-ct'tete, when Evelyn, in 
plain terms, requested them to accompany her 
as far as the house. There was no mistakinor 
this — and the baffled and crestfallen Earl 
turned away in an opposite direction, to digest 
his mortification as he best might, and debate 
within himself the possibility of cutting the 
whole concern of the dinner altogether, and 
returning to town at once. 

But his pride opposed itself to this step ; — 
it would have too much the appearance of a 
defeat. No, he would brave it out for the sake 
of his offended dignity ; and Miss Harcourt 



2 1 2 EVELYN H ARCOURT. 

should not at least have the triumph of ima- 
gining she had succeeded in wounding him. 
He would turn the tables upon her, and wither 
her by his neglect — his contempt ! He would 
make her repent her rejection of him ! — 

In the mean time, Evelyn, who had perceived 
Lady Annette at some distance, had abruptly 
quitted her companions, as though delighted 
to shake them off, and had joined her. Lady 
Annette received her with apparent plea- 
sure. 

" How nice of you to take compassion on 
poor solitary me !" said she ; " and how won- 
derful that you, the envied of all enviers, the 
admired of all admirers, should prefer a quiet 
walk to the incense that all are so ready to 
offer ! But what have you done with Lord 
Haverfordwest? Not refused him, I hope?" 
Then, observing Evelyn's look of embarrass- 
ment, she added, pointing towards Miss Eridge 
and Mr. Sherborne, " There go one pair of 
happy lovers, at least !" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 2 1 3 

" Lovers !" cried Evelyn, as a pang of un- 
utterable bitterness shot through her heart. 
" Lovers ! — your cousin and Helen !" 

" You look astonished. Have you any 
doubt of it ?" 

** They know each other so little — they 
never met till lately ; and I thought — I was 
told...." 

" That my cousin was engaged to me — is 
not that what you were going to say ? Ah, 
well ! it was so reported, I know : one of the 
on dits of society, because I happen to have 
money, and he has not ; but there never was 
a word of truth in it, I do assure you. Arthur 
is a good creature, and I have a great regard 
for him, and admiration, and all that ; but, as 
for marrying him, it is the last thing I should 
dream of. He would bore me to death — he 
is infinitely too clever for me — too exalted.... 
I should die of it !" 

Evelyn looked at her with unfeigned asto- 
nishment. And this was the person whom she 



214 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

had believed to be devoted to Mr. Sherborne, 
whose whole soul she had imagined was 
wrapped up in him ! — 

She w^as conscious of a sensation of relief 
even at that moment ; it was happiness to 
know that from Ladj Annette, at least, he 
was safe — one too so little capable of appre- 
ciating him ! But soon the sickening recol- 
lection of Helen returned. Could Helen, in- 
deed, be playing so false a part, as to seek to 
win his affections for herself, after all that 
she had discovered, too, so lately? Some- 
thing told her that it could not be so ; yet 
she remembered the enthusiastic admiration 
with which she had lately spoken of him — 
she, who was so seldom enthusiastic about 
any body ; and her mind felt disturbed and 
wretched. 

Turning to her companion, she inquired, as 
calmly as she could, what reasons she had 
for supposing that Mr. Sherborne and Helen 
were lovers. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 215 

Lady Annette seemed astonished at the 
question. " Their whole conduct," she said, 
" was a proof of it ; she could scarcely con- 
ceive how any two persons could show their 
partiality more plainly. Miss Eridge seemed 
to have eyes and ears for Mr. Sherborne 
alone ; and as for him, he certainly always 
contrived, somehow or other, to be where she 
was. The other day, when they had all ridden 
to Chiswick together, whom had he talked to 
but her? — and to-day, what could be thought 
of their conduct to-day ? His manoeuvres to 
go in the same carriage with her ; their con- 
versation almost exclusively addressed to one 
another during the drive, most of it inaudible 
to the others ! What could two people do 
more to prove their regard, their preference, 
for each other's society ?... Perhaps, however. 
Miss Eridge was a flirt." 

*' 'No, no," cried Evelyn, hurriedly, " it is 
not in her nature to flirt." 

" Then what can one suppose, but that cela 



216 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

devient serieuj? — mais tres serieuw meme! 
I cannot wonder you are annoyed ; your 
friend has no fortune, I understand, and Ar- 
thur inherited nothing from his father but 
debts. It is true, he has paid many of them 
off, and he is making mints just now by his 
works ; but, after all, fashion is very uncer- 
tain, and a bad provision to marry upon, at 
any rate." 

Evelyn made no answer — she was wonder- 
ing to herself what any one could see in this 
world worth living for. Every thing was so 
hollow, so distasteful ; disappointment was 
Inrking every where. 

Had Lady Annette's object been to make 
her thoroughly miserable, she could not have 
succeeded better ; but, to do her justice, she 
was innocent of any such intention. She was 
not indeed quite clear that Evelyn had not 
at one time entertained some sort of preference 
for Mr. Sherborne herself; but, whether this 
had or had not been the case, she really did 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 217 

believe it was Helen Eridge who was capti- 
vating him now, and that most completely. 

The truth was, Lady Annette loved her 
cousin herself, and it had been from no want 
of encouragement on her own part, nor that 
of her father, that Arthur Sherborne had not 
returned her attachment. She had sought to 
captivate him by every means in her power ; 
and, although it suited her pride, which had 
been cruelly mortified by his indifference, to 
declare that the report of their engagement 
was wholly without foundation, yet the fact 
was, that that report had originated in cer- 
tain words of the noble Earl himself, incau- 
tiously uttered on an occasion when joviality 
had got the better of discretion, and ex- 
pressing a fervent hope, as well as expectation, 
that his nephew would one day become his 
son-in-law. These words were repeated with 
certain additions ; and they ended in pro- 
ducing an explanation from Arthur Sherborne 
himself, which completely put a stop to all 

VOL. I. L 



218 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

hopes of the kind for the future, though it 
could not destroy Lady Annette's attachment. 

She still regarded, with the utmost dislike 
and jealousy, any one whom she imagined him 
to prefer. At one time, she had been jealous 
of Evelyn, but this had long since passed 
away. Mr. Sherborne had formerly talked of 
her, and praised her beauty, her simplicity ; 
but lately he had not even mentioned her 
name. It was not likely, indeed, that a 
girl like Miss Harcourt should stoop to care 
for one who, with all his talents and noto- 
riety, was still but a younger son, and not 
even a rich one. 

But Helen Bridge — she feared that was 
altogether a different matter. Helen Bridge 
had neither money, as she believed, nor high 
connexions, nor even great beauty to recom- 
mend her ; and she might well be proud to 
connect herself with one whose family was 
noble and ancient as any in the land, whose 
name was ringing throughout Europe, and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 219 

whose works were beginning to be translated 
into almost every language. Such an alliance 
would indeed be a brilliant one for her, and 
she was therefore to be feared. Lady Annette 
regarded her not only with fear, but with 
aversion also. 

But Evelyn's feelings were even more bitter 
than Lady Annette's ; she felt as if the world 
had suddenly become a blank to her ; her 
judgment was for the time completely ob- 
scured, and she could no longer trust one 
human being. Helen, her sister, the com- 
panion of her childhood, had turned against 
her ; had sought to deprive her of what was 
far dearer than life ; and now, what remained 
to her? Who could she confide in hence- 
forth? Life and its pleasures were over for 
her, and she passionately longed to die. 

It all seemed clear now, too clear; and 
busy memory recalled innumerable little cir- 
cumstances, which she wondered at herself 
for having overlooked before ; — all proofs to 

L 2 



220 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

her distorted fancy of the existence of the 
evil which she had but just learnt to dread, 
but which each instant served to confirm 
more and more strongly. 

The rest of that day passed she knew not 
how — it all seemed like a painful and weary 
dream. The tedious dinner, the flat conver- 
sation, the sickening gaiety of some, the 
worse dulness of others — all seemed to her 
intolerable at the time, though afterwards she 
retained but an indistinct recollection of it. 
But she remembered, with a painful clear- 
ness, the evident desire of Mr. Sherborne to 
get next Helen at dinner ; his look of satis- 
faction when he succeeded ; and the earnest 
tone of the conversation that followed. All 
this she had observed, and it ate into her soul 
with all those burning sensations of jealous 
rage, which nearly madden the brain that 
feels them ! She fancied, too, that Helen was 
conscious of her observation, and that she 
strove to discourage his attentions when her 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 221 

eje was upon them ; but that their conver- 
sation was instantly resumed whenever she 
turned away from them, and with greater 
interest than ever. 

Oh, who can describe the misery of that 
drive home ! Evelyn had but one earnest 
wish — that anguish had power to destroy ! — 
If it were but possible to die of mental suf- 
fering as of bodily disease, she should not 
linger long, she felt assured. 

And there were Arthur and Helen in the 
carriage before her, still conversing together, 
as though unconscious that there was one not 
far off, who was learning her first bitter lesson 
of the nature of jealousy — beginning to con- 
ceive what might be the sensations of despair ! 

When she arrived in Grosvenor Square, she 
instantly took refuge in Lady Truro's room, 
where she knew that Helen could not pene- 
trate ; and, desiring Deschamps to tell Miss 
Eridge that she meant to pass the night with 
her cousin, she presently stole up to her own 



222 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

room, and having fastened the door, threw 
herself down on a chair by the open window, 
like one stupified. 

And it was not till the morning light had 
begun to penetrate into the chamber that she 
at length undressed, and fell into a troubled 
and feverish slumber. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 223 



CHAPTER XI. 

Iphtgenie. Vous Taimez! Que faisois-je? et quelle 
erreur fatale 
ATa fait entre mes bras recevoir ma rivale ? 
Perfide ! cet affront peut-il se pardonner ? 

CORNEILLE. 

Pharcismane. D'ou vient done aujourdhui ce secret 
entretien 
S'il est vrai qu'en ces lieux tu ne medites rien. 

Arsame. Ce n'est pas un secret qu'on puisse reveler; 
Un interet sacre me defend de parler. 

Ibid. 

Evelyn slept late the following morning ; 
and awoke at last with a confused and weary 
sense of some impending evil. Who has not, 
at one time or another of life, experienced this 
most painful sensation — the consciousness of 
some unexplained weight upon the spirit — 
of something dreadful that either has occurred 



224 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

or is about to occur ; of some misfortune that 
cannot be averted ? For my own part, I have 
always thought that nothing on earth is 
worse to bear than the first waking from the 
sound and dreamless sleep that not unfre- 
quently succeeds to the excitement of violent 
sorrow ! It is some time before the mind 
becomes alive to the reality of its misery — to 
the remembrance of all that has gone before ; 
and as, little by little, the soft, mysterious 
veil which sleep has cast over the wrung 
heart and heavy brain is withdrawn, the stern, 
hard, relentless grief — perhaps Death itself — 
appears in view, and the soul is born again 
to an anguish rendered doubly bitter by the 
welcome rest, the total oblivion, that has pre- 
ceded it. In short, just in the same manner 
as the sensations that accompany the resto- 
ration of suspended animation are far more 
exquisitely painful than those immediately 
preceding death, so, in my opinion, the first 
waking up from sleep, after an overwhelming 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 225 

misfortune, is often infinitely worse than the 
very moments of its actual occurrence. 

When Evelyn awoke that morning, she gazed 
around her with a strange kind of surprise at 
the novelty of her own sensations. What 
had happened ? Was it some fearful dream, 
whose influence she could not shake off, that 
haunted her ?.... All that surrounded her ap- 
peared the same as usual, but something was 
changed ! — could it be herself ?... Then, gra- 
dually, by little and little, she began to recall 
to mind each separate incident of the pre- 
ceding day, till at length the whole of the 
suffering that had been crowded into the short 
space of a few hours came rushing back upon 
her, and overwhelmed her with its fearful re- 
collection. Then it all became real enough, 
and her heart sank within her at the prospect 
of the weary life to which she must in future 
look forward. For what hope had she in the 
world?. ...He loved her not !.... he loved ano- 
ther!..., 

L 5 



226 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

She was told that Miss Bridge had been 
more than once to her bedside already, but 
had gone away again, desiring she might not 
be disturbed. Evelyn rejoiced that she had 
done so. Above all things, she most dreaded 
seeing Helen — she could scarcely bear to 
think of her with tolerable composure — Helen, 
whom but till yesterday she had loved and 
trusted as her own soul ! — 

The more she reflected, the more incredible 
did it seem to her that she should have con- 
tinued so long blind to the evidences of that 
mutual though somewhat sudden regard which 
she was now but too well convinced had 
sprung up between her friend and Mr. Sher- 
borne. But that that friend should have 
suffered her to remain in ignorance of it — 
nay, should have actually striven to conceal 
it from her, and after wringing from her, as 
it were, her own secret — the confession of her 
love — should have sought to win from her the 
heart of him she worshipped — was a degree 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 227 

of treacherous duplicity too dreadful almost 
to be contemplated ! Yet that it was so, 
there could not be a doubt. 

She presently descended to Lady Truro, 
whom she found in unusual agitation. Lord 
Truro had just announced that their depar- 
ture to the continent must take place con- 
siderably sooner than had been intended — in 
a few days at farthest ; and his wife was 
quite overcome by the scene that had occurred 
between them. 

Evelyn felt a kind of malicious exultation 
at this intelligence. It was true, their 
hastened departure would separate her all the 
sooner from Mr. Sherborne, but Helen would 
be separated from him, too ; and there was 
comfort in that thought — unless, indeed, he 
should propose to her first — unless he had 
proposed to her already. 

As these ideas passed rapidly through the 
mind of Evelyn, she descended to the draw- 
ing-room. It was better to get the meeting 



228 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

with Helen over as soon as possible ; it must 
take place — the sooner the better, therefore ! 

" Where is Miss Eridge ?" she inquired of a 
servant w^hom she met on the stairs. 

" Miss Eridge is in the pink drawing-room, 
I believe, ma'am." 

Evelyn turned towards it. She opened 
the door ; Helen was not there, but she fan- 
cied she heard her voice beyond. She ad- 
vanced towards the conservatory, penetrated 
to the boudoir, and there, standing close to- 
gether, apparently in earnest conversation, 
were — Helen and Mr. Sherborne ! 

Evelyn stood petrified at the sight. All 
was indeed confirmed — all was over!.... 

Despair lent her calmness. With a cold, 
haughty bow to Mr. Sherborne, and a slight 
apology for her intrusion, she retreated in 
haste, utterly disregarding the entreaties of 
both that she would remain ; and, rushing up 
stairs with the speed of lightning, she once 
more took refuge in her own room. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 229 

And when, half an hour afterwards, Helen, 
who was miserable about her, went up to seek 
her, she found her door locked ; and it was 
not till after repeated entreaties for admittance 
that she succeeded in obtaining even as much 
as a word in reply. At length, however, 
Evelyn did open the door, standing herself 
so as to oppose all entrance, and, in a cold, 
sullen voice, inquired what she w^anted. 

" Oh ! Evelyn ! dear Evelyn ! do not speak 
to me so !" cried Helen, almost in tears. 
" Let me come in for a few moments — will 
you not?" 

Evelyn moved aside, and, having admitted 
her, seated herself without uttering a syl- 
lable, and fixed her eyes sullenly on the 
ground. 

" You are angry, Evelyn — I see it ; and I 
cannot but suspect the cause ! But, oh ! how 
can you do me such injustice as to suppose, 
for one moment. ..." 

"To suppose what?" interrupted Evelyn, 



230 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

raising her eyes, and fixing them upon Helen 
with an indefinable expression. 

*' I hope I may be wrong, dear Evelyn, but 

I feared You thought it strange to find 

Mr. Sherborne with me just now." 

" I ! — by no means !■ — After his conduct of 
yesterday, it seemed to me the most natural 
thing in the world that he should seek 
you to-day ! only what one would ex- 
pect...." 

" Oh ! Evelyn, if it were but in my power 
— but it is not ! I may not tell you the 
reason of his seeking me." 

" Spare yourself the trouble, I beg ; I can 
well imagine it." 

"No, you cannot — you are far, far from 
imagining it — it has nothing whatever to do 
with what you fancy. ...with myself!" 

" And for what purpose then, may I ask, 
was he here this morning ? Did he not come 
to see 2/ou f " 

"He did; but,..." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 231 

" Why did he come ? — Tell me that ! quick! 
quick !" 

" I cannot, Evelyn ; I am under a solemn 
promise not to mention the cause of his 
coming ; but it was not for me ! it was some- 
thing connected " 

" And you expect me to believe that it was 
not for you! Go; I am not the fool, the 
dupe you imagine. What ! do you suppose 
people have no eyes ? Your mutual feelings 
are apparent to all the world ! one must indeed 
be blind not to see them ; every one remarked 
upon them yesterday ! every one thought . . ." 

" I rejoice to hear it, Evelyn ; — it is at 
least some excuse for you — can you remember 
our long friendship — our childhood passed 
together — and yet doubt my word ?" 

" What was his object this morning ? Tell 
me that, and I may believe you." 

" I cannot; I have promised not to tell 
it ; for some time, at least. — It concerned 
another: and . . . ." 



232 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

A sadden gleam of hope shot through 
Evelyn's heart, like a ray of light from 
Heaven. 

" Tell me but this !'' she exclaimed with 
inexpressible eagerness — " Was his object in 
any way connected with me ? . . . . was it ... . 
oh, was it " 

It would be hard to say which felt the 
bitterest pang the moment after, — she, who 
must destroy the new-born hope that had 
but just begun to bless that troubled 
heart, — or she, who learnt that she had hoped 
in vain. 

But Helen did not waver. She felt it 
would be no kindness to encourage hopes 
which she had but too good reason to fear 
were without foundation. 

^* It was not in any way connected with 
you, dear Evelyn," said she decidedly. — " If 
it had been, do you think I should not have 
told you so directly ? It was a person you 
do not even know. Would that I could think 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 233 

he loves you ; but, alas ! of that I feel no cer- 
tainty — sometimes even — little hope." 

Until that moment Evelyn had retained her 
composure, and she kept her eyes fixed upon her 
companion with a cold, sullen, impenetrable 
expression ; — but no sooner were these words 
uttered, than her features changed with incon- 
ceivable rapidity — her eyes seemed literally 
to flash fire — and her whole form to dilate 
with the most vehement passion. 

" Stop, stop !" she cried, with fearful vio- 
lence. *' This is more than I can bear ! Is it 
not enough that you have basely sought to 
captivate the affections of him I love — that 
you have abused my confidence — stung my 
very soul — and now you turn upon me, and 
insult me by such words as these ! I will 
not bear it ! — Thank God ! we are to part 
immediately ! I am grateful for it ! I could 
not continue to live thus ! I could not en- 
dure what I have done the last twenty-four 
hours, and keep my reason Thank God ! 



234 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

we set off in three days — only three days 
more !" 

" No, Evelyn — not three days, not three 
hours — if you really wish to part from me — 
if you disbelieve my word ! I will go at once 
— I will not stay when you suffer from my 
presence !" 

Evelyn was silent. 

" Oh ! Evelyn ! will you not speak one 
kind word to me?" cried Helen, bursting into 
tears. — " At least, let us part friends. I do 
not wish to stay, I am sure — nothing should 
tempt me to do so now ; but at least let us 
not part in anger ! — Indeed — indeed I have 
not injured you ! — Say one farewell to me." 

" Farewell !" said Evelyn ; and her heart 
half relented ; but then the thought came 
across her that that outstretched hand had 
lately been clasped in his ; — perhaps even 
was already promised to him — and her soul 
burned with agonizing jealousy at the bare 
idea. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 285 

And she scarcely touched the proffered 
hand, but turned away. 

"Oh, Evelyn ! the day will come when you 
will repent this — when you will know how 
wrong you were. But I will pray for you — 
yes ! I can still do that !".... And in another 
moment Helen was gone. 

Evelyn felt bewildered. The tumult of her 
passion was such, that she was incapable of 
judgment or of reflection. There are not 
many natures like hers, and it is fortunate 
that there are not. The suffering of weeks 
of ordinary beings was concentrated in a few 
hours of her intense emotions, and with the 
game impetuosity that she loved did she now 
suffer from the agony, the degradation, of 
havinof loved in vain. Her mind was over- 
wrought — utterly unstrung ! She was blinded 
by the violence of her prejudices. To her, 
there seemed at that time not the shadow of 
a doubt of Helen's duplicity — of her attach- 
ment to Mr. Sherborne. Helen's solemn 



236 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

assurances, her indignant denial of the whole, 
went for nothing in her mind ; Helen was his, 
and he was lost to her for ever ! 

Hour after hour passed away, and still she 
sat there — silent — motionless — in the same 
attitude. She felt abandoned by all the world ! 
— alone in her misery — no one could sym- 
pathize with her — no one could conceive what 
she endured. 

It was not till many hours after that she 
was roused by a message from Lady Truro, 
requesting to see her in her dressing-room. 
She found Lady Annette there, in the act of 
informing Lady Truro, in confidence, of her 
own conviction that Mr. Sherborne had only a 
few hours before proposed to Miss Bridge, for 
that, to her knowledge, they had had a private 
interview that morning; — and this circum- 
stance, coupled with the equally astonishing 
fact of Miss Eridge being actually gone two 
hours ago — set off suddenly with her maid 
upon the plea of unexpected news, which ren- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 237 

dered her departure necessary — made it cer- 
tainly appear somewhat probable that these 
suspicions were correct. 

Evelyn commanded herself to listen with 
apparent calmness. She felt it was better to 
know the worst at once — to have no doubt 
remaining in her own mind — she could now 
give herself up entirely to her despair. 



Mr. Sherborne called the next day in Gros- 
venor Square ; but Lady Truro was not visible, 
and Evelyn of course did not see him. She 
ascertained, however, that he had inquired at 
what hour Miss Eridge had departed the pre- 
vious morning, and also what was Mr. Eridge's 
post-town. She further discovered, by means 
of Deschamps, that, previous to her departure, 
Helen had written a note to Mr. Sherborne, 
which she had left with one of the servants, to 
be taken to his lodgings as soon as possible. 
What further confirmation of their engagement 
was needed ?...In her opinion, none !... 



288 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

How the next few days passed, Evelyn 
could scarcely tell ! It was all like a strange 
and troubled dream, from which she vainly 
endeavoured to rouse herself ! She had indeed 
a distinct remembrance, afterwards, of Lady 
Truro's having commented upon her evident 
depression and absence of mind, and inquired 
the cause — and of sundry hints about the 
Duke of Shetland and his absence as con- 
nected with that depression — but with the 
exception of this, and a few other circum- 
stances that for some reason had made a slio'ht 
impression upon her mind, all the rest that 
occurred during this short period was for- 
gotten, obliterated — almost as though it had 
never been. Wherever she went, whatever 
she did, there was one miserable, overpower- 
ing certainty ever present to her mind — he 
loved her not ! — he loved Helen ! 

And all that seemed beautiful and inspiring 
before now suddenly lost its charm for this 
young girl ! The sky was no longer bright — 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 239 

the summer air no longer balmy — the placid 
moon and countless stars on which, in the still 
hours of night, she had lately so loved to gaze, 
whilst dreaming that his eyes were also di- 
rected there — no longer beamed upon her 
with their own soft and mysterious light ; — 
his image, which had hallowed every page of 
that enchanted lore he had first opened to her 
view, no longer smiled upon her as at first, 
encouraging her efforts, smoothing away her 
difiiculties, cheering her lonely and pensive 
labours ; — the music of his voice, which she 
ever fondly fancied she could hear, whilst 
reading again and again the exquisite produc- 
tions of his own unrivalled genius, was mute 
for her.... A gloom seemed to have encom- 
passed all things, and all that was beautiful 
and happy in creation had vanished from her 
sight!... 

The world had become suddenly darkened ! 



240 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTEE XII. 

In manners vain, 

In conversation frivolous, in dress 
Extreme. 

COWPER. 

Believe me, you are marvellously changed. 

Merchant of Venice. 

Ote moi cet objet, je ne le puis soufifrir. 

CORNEILLE. 

Mrs. Harry Eridge was a very odd person — 
one of those people about whom most of their 
acquaintance shake their heads, look wise, 
and declare that " they are utterly unaccount- 
able — utterly !" and the rest very charitably 
determine that they are undoubtedly mad ! 
But Mrs. Eridge was not mad, although she 
constantly acted as if she were ; she was only 
exceedingly capricious, violent in her temper, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 241 

and fond of affecting singularity. She had 
married for love ; but this had not prevented 
her from making the object of her attachment 
utterly wretched during the period of their 
union. The truth was, she could not exist 
without some one to torment. As long as her 
husband had lived, she had existed very well 
upon tormenting him, and since his death she 
had done her best to supply his place by tor- 
menting the children he had left, with occa- 
sional intervals of rapturous fondness for them, 
which she was always astonished and indignant 
to find they did not reciprocate. 

Her father, a younger son of good family, 
had been poor, but extravagant ; and her 
mother, a Duke's daughter, still more so. How 
this fashionable pair had contrived to scramble 
on at all, no one could exactly tell ; but they 
had scrambled on from day to day and from 
year to year, and that was all they could 
hope to do. Lady Anne Percy had died whilst 
her daughters were yet in the school-room, and 

VOL. I. M 



242 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

from that period, Beatrice, the eldest, had 
become, in a manner, mistress of her sisters 
and of the whole family. 

The education of these girls had been ter- 
ribly neglected ; indeed, they could scarcely 
be said to have had any at all, and they grew 
up almost without principles — in short, with 
just as much good as nature gave them, and 
no more. When they had " come out," as it 
is called, they visited about amongst their 
high and rich connexions, and contracted 
habits of extravagance little calculated to 
render them either contented daughters at 
home, or good wives to men of moderate pre- 
tensions. Their father, finding he derived 
little domestic comfort from them, soon mar- 
ried again, a young and pretty woman, to their 
infinite disgust ; and then they were seized, 
one and all, with the most intense longing to 
escape from the paternal roof, which became 
more and more intolerable to them, as each 
year brought with it an addition to the 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 243 

already overstocked family, in the shape of a 
squalling infant of enormous dimensions and 
the most robust constitution. 

In a couple of years they had all married, 
and all badly, in a worldly point of view; 
nevertheless, some of them were happy, (those 
whose dispositions were in themselves calcu- 
lated for happiness) and one or two even 
made good wives and mothers. Beatrice, 
however, whose match had been considered 
the best at the time, proved the least con- 
tented with her lot ; but then it was evident 
to all that, under no possible circumstances, 
could Beatrice ever have been happy. Indeed, 
she never had been so. — not even as a child. 

Since the death of her husband, she had 
lived almost entirely abroad, preferring the 
freedom and laisser oiler of a life on the con- 
tinent to the greater confinement and regu- 
larity of an English home. She had seen but 
little of her sisters, still less of the children of 
her father's second marriage, with the excep- 

M 2 



244 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

tion of Frederic, her stepmother's eldest son. 
She did condescend to like him, in her own 
singular, uncertain, and capricious manner; 
but of the rest she always spoke with a kind 
of contemptuous bitterness, as though it were 
utterly unpardonable in them to have been 
born at all. 

Mrs. Eridge had not had a single sixpence 
settled upon her by her father at her marriage. 
It was all he could do to struggle on himself, 
find food for his numerous tribe, and get his 
sons fairly launched in the various professions 
they were to follow. He could not attempt to 
provide fortunes for his daughters. Frederic, 
however, was better off than the rest of the 
family, for an old third cousin, who had been 
fond of him as a child, had left him three 
hundred a year, besides presenting him with 
his commission ; so that he was looked upon 
by his brothers and sisters as a kind of inde- 
pendent and good-humoured Croesus ! How 
much of that three hundred a year found its 



EVELYN HARCOURT. ^45 

way into the pocket of his mother, or became 
invested in the transitory shape of frocks and 
coats for her numerous progeny, cannot be 
ascertained, for he was never known to divulge 
such secrets; but certain it is that he did 
spend his income, and yet not upon himself, 
for his own personal expenses were few, and 
his wishes singularly moderate. 

No one was ever yet so surrounded by poor 
relations on all sides as Fred Percy — families 
of nephews and nieces, all growing up around 
him, each more unprovided for than the rest, 
all looking up to him as the guardian-angel — 
the protector and influential man of their 
race. " Ask Uncle Fred !" was the general 
cry in doubt or emergency of any kind. — 
" ril write to your brother Frederic, and ask 
him what steps I should take about the boy !'' 
was the satisfactory answer of his brothers-in- 
law to their wives, in anxious debates about 
those overgrown boys whose spirits were fired 
with ambitious ardour to strut in uniform. — 



246 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Fred will talk to him when he comes, and 
bring him to his senses, if anything can !" was 
the comforting conclusion in the mind of his 
father, when any one of his younger sons, with 
a soul above goosequills, revolted against the 
clerkship in a country business, procured not 
without immense difficulty, or even perhaps 
the writership to India, obtained by means of 
an unceasing solicitation and powerful interest. 
In short, Frederic was the guide and support 
as well as the pride of his family ; and nobody 
knew what anybody would do without Fred ! 
His popularity, too, was reflected back upon 
his relations ; every one was disposed to be 
kind to a brother of Fred Percy's, and' to go 
out of their way to give him a lift. He was 
such a deuced good fellow himself ! 

Mrs. Bridge was proud of his popularity, 
and she was always endeavouring to instil into 
his mind that he might marry well — that he 
might benefit his family immensely if he mar- 
ried as he ought. He would be inexcusable 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 247 

indeed, if, with his opportunities, he did not 
make a most excellent match. 

Although he was far from returning her 
partiality, yet, as he sincerely pitied his un- 
fortunate nephews and nieces who were under 
her capricious and tyrannical control, he 
made a point of going to see her as often 
as he could, and these visits were looked for- 
ward to as glimpses of heaven by them. His 
influence could obtain for them what nothing 
else could ; and, whilst he remained, all was 
comparative peace. 



At the time of which we speak, it so hap- 
pened that Paris was unusually dull, and 
Mrs. Harry had been suddenly seized with an 
uncontrollable desire to behold her sisters 
once more, and introduce her daughters to 
her various relations. Accordingly, one fine 
day, to the great astonishment of everybody, 
she made her appearance in England ; and 
having saluted her father, gone into hysterics 



248 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

over his gray hairs, and shocked her step- 
mother by her strong disapprobation of her 
half sisters, she next proceeded to the abode 
of her own favourite sister, once a lively, 
merry, ambitious girl, but now the sober, 
matter-of-fact wife of a country rector, and 
the mother of six chubby children. 

Poor Mrs. Heneage, whose thoughts were 
centred in Little Upton Parsonage, was com- 
pletely upset by the arrival of Beatrice and 
her two daughters. What on earth was she 
to do with them ? — Beatrice, with her strange 
temper, her horror of everything English, and 
her impudent French maid without a cap ! 
Mrs. Heneage's own cap nearly flew off her 
head in virtuous indignation at the turpitude 
of that maid ! Such an example to female 
servants in general, and to the female servants 
of the Rectory in particular .'...And when she 
was always putting up Mr. H. to preach 
against the love of finery, and vanity of female 
apparel ! Then the Miss Bridges, with their 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 249 

French idioms — their dresses fitting so tight 
to their shapes, and their hair done so beau- 
tifully smooth — how would her own two 
square, stumpy girls, with their red hands, 
rough plaits, and shining cheeks, ever get on 
with them ? To be sure, they looked good- 
natured enough ; but of course they had been 
brought up to despise everybody and every- 
thing not Parisian. 

And what was poor Mr. Heneage to do, 
who could never endure a noise, and who abo- 
minated everything French with the virulent 
hatred of which only a narrow-minded John 
Bull is capable ? How would he ever endure 
such an influx of noise, and worldliness, and 
foreign trash ? 

The sisters had not met for years, and Mrs. 
Eridge had never been at Little Upton Rec- 
tory in her life. She had always entertained 
a very decided contempt for its master, whom 
she considered as little better than a cabbage- 
stalk ; and she had told her sister at the time 

M 5 



250 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of her marriage that she was throwing her- 
self completely away upon such a man, and 
would henceforth become a mere vegetable 
herself. For some years after, whenever she 
had condescended to write to the female 
vegetable, she had not been able to resist 
making some allusion of a sneering nature to 
the male ditto, then only a poor curate; 
which, even if it could be supposed to be 
gratifying to the feelings of his wife, could 
scarcely be so to his own, should he chance to 
overlook the letter. But then his name was 
Andrew ! — and who could bear a man whose 
name was Andrew ? — not Mrs. Harry Eridge, 
certainly ! 

For some time past, however, she had trans- 
ferred her antipathy from Andrew to another 
brother-in-law, whom even she could not 
accuse of resemblance to a vegetable, but 
who, being a strong-minded, acute, well- 
judging lawyer, had taken the liberty of par- 
ticularly disapproving of her mode of pro- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 251 

ceeding in general, and more especially of her 
manner of spending her income, about which 
she had once in a weak moment consulted 
him. Poor Andrew had, consequently, been 
latterly left in peace. 

But, though Mrs. Harry had forgotten much 
of the past, and had perhaps never, in her 
consummate selfishness, been even conscious 
of the pain she had inflicted, Mrs. Heneage 
could not forget it ; and now, when years and 
ties had attached her to her slow but excel- 
lent partner with a fervour which nothing but 
death could destroy, she could hardly bear to 
think of the period when a few satirical re- 
marks, from a sister she did not esteem, had 
power to make her feel ashamed of that ex- 
cellent companion, who had been so true to 
her through life. 

If she could have made any decent excuse 
for not receiving her sister at Little Upton, 
she would have done so ; but there was no 
possibility of it. Mrs- Bridge had written to 



252 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

announce her coming the day before she set 
off from London, and, before a letter of ex- 
cuses could leave the Rectory, she would have 
made her appearance there. 

The meeting of the sisters was really ab- 
surd. Mrs. Heneage had grown matter-of- 
fact and nervous as she grew older ; and she 
had attained that time of life when it is more 
natural to make a quiet and almost impercep- 
tible curtsey, than to seize a person round the 
neck and devour them with vehement kisses. 
Mrs. Harry, on the other hand, was just now 
in the humour for scenes. She had worked 
herself up into a belief that she must be 
dreadfully agitated on beholding her sister, 
and she thought fit to picture her to herself 
as she had been when they last met — a pretty, 
slight, delicate-looking creature, nursing a 
lovely baby of a few months old. 

But when she rushed into the drawing- 
room, which looked as matter-of-fact and 
homely as its inhabitants, and exclaimed. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 253 

" Oil est-elle f ou est-elle f cette hien'aimte 
Elisabeth f " and up rose Mrs. Heneage's 
plump figure with as much haste as her quiet 
habits would allow, the revulsion of feeling 
was too great. Putting her hands before her 
eyes, (having first assured herself of the im- 
mediate vicinity of a sofa) Mrs. Eridge sank 
down, murmuring, '^ Ah ! je me meurs ! ce 
n'est plus mon Elisabeth /" and had a com- 
fortable hysteric, not a little to the conster- 
nation and amazement of all parties concerned, 
but chiefly to that of the beet-root-cheeked 
maid, who had never beheld such an exhibition 
in her whole life before. 

This seemed a bad beginning; but much 
more was yet to come — scenes were to be the 
order of the day. There was another ''foi- 
blesse,'' as Mrs. Harry called it, over " cette 
chlre Elisabeth'^ " altered figure, when she 
escorted her to her bed-room to dress for 
dinner ; and poor Elizabeth had to endure re- 
proaches for her indifference and unkindness 



254 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

in not having a ^^foiblesse " herself. In vain 
she protested that it was not her way, and 
that, if .9^6 were altered in appearance, Beatrice 
really was hardly at all so. Nothing would do ! 
Mrs. Harry was '^ the most ill- used, least ap- 
preciated, most neglected being upon earth : 
nobody cared for her — nobody comprehended 
her. To her own children, as well as to every 
one else, she was a ^'femme incomprise.'" 

Mrs. Heneage turned inquiringly to the 
daughters ; — the eldest smiled meaningly — 

" It is only mamma's way !" whispered she. 
" She will be better presently — when dinner 
is over." 

Excuses were made for Mr. Heneage, who 
was too unwell to appear. He was afraid he 
was about to have a fit of gout — he had 
had some sharp twinges the previous night, 
and he would, therefore, not leave his room 
this evening. To-morrow, he hoped he should 
be able to see his sister-in-law, and do the 
honours of his own house. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 255 

There were no hysterics upon this announce- 
ment ; indeed, it seemed rather to have a 
calming tendency — and poor Elizabeth, awed 
by the degage look with which the impudent 
French maid surveyed her cap, sneaked out 
of the room, to repeat, for the twentieth time, 
to her own unsophisticated maiden, who had 
but lately emerged from the village school, 
the injunction that the young ladies were to 
have on their best frocks for dinner, and that 
the cook was to take unheard-of pains with 
the dinner. 

"Ah fa ! Elisabeth ! I must see your 
children !" graciously observed Mrs. Eridge, 
when the dessert was placed on the table ; 
" how many have you ?" 

" Six ; — but the boys are at school, just 
now, I am sorry to say !" 

" SiJ^ ! ah, c'est affreuoc ! mais, enfin, il 
faut les voir, ces petits anges ! Above all, I 
must see the enchantinor anp^el I remember..." 

" Anne !" 



^56 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Ah, yes I — Anne — " 

Mrs. Heneage immediately desired the 
young ladies might be summoned ; and, in 
the space of a few minutes, in they came, 
their faces still red with the extra washing 
and scrubbing bestowed upon them by Martha, 
in her anxious desire to carry out her mis- 
tress's directions, and to " do them justice." 

They were not ugly, but they were tho- 
roughly British-looking, awkward, and un- 
gainly. Their gowns were ill made, their 
shoulders high, their arms red, and they wore 
very red coral necklaces, and long gloves of a 
yellowish colour, drawn up very high indeed. 

Full of awe of their cousins, and yet eager 
curiosity to behold them, in they marched — 
the eldest, a great, overgrown girl, with a 
short thick waist, leading the way. But what 
was their consternation, when, on their mo- 
ther taking Anne, the second, by the hand, 
and pointing her out by name to Mrs. Bridge, 
that lady uttered a piercing shriek, and. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 257 

covering her face with her hands, fell back 
in her chair, apparently overcome with horror. 

" Good heavens !" cried Mrs. Heneage, ex- 
cessively alarmed ; " what is the matter now, 
sister ?" 

" Oh ! take her away ! take her away !" 
cried Mrs. Harry, covering her face with one 
hand, and with the other pointing to Anne — 
" That the beautiful angel I saw ! Ah ! 
quelle horreur !.,. Why, it's Monsieur Heneage 
lui-meme! Elle lid ressemble comme deux 
gouttes (Teaic ! Take her away ! My nerves 
won't stand this ! — Je me sens maL,.ah.,, .'" 

There was a general confusion ; and the 
unfortunate Anne, who was guilty of so strong 
a resemblance to her father, sought to conceal 
herself behind her sisters, but in vain. 

" Mamma is not well to-day," whispered 
Adelaide to Mrs. Heneage. " She is often 
like this when she has been much excited, but 
it will go off presently. You do not under- 
stand her yet !" 



258 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" No ! nor ever shall !" thought poor Mrs. 
Heneage, who was nearly at her wits' end. 

Anne was speedily banished from the scene 
of action, and flew to increase, if possible, 
the curiosity and astonishment of the maids, 
which had already been worked up almost 
beyond endurance by the strange tales Made- 
moiselle Pulcherie Aimee Zemire Felicite 
Petit Pierre had to tell of her eccentric mis- 
tress, and her wonderful sayings and doings. 

Decidedly, if Mrs. Harry had come to 
Little Upton with the determination of en- 
lightening its inhabitants as to how singular 
and disagreeable she could make herself, she 
could not have succeeded better. Her con- 
duct the whole of this first eveninof was a 
series of oddities ! — " Making tea in the 
drawing-room," she declared, " was an abo- 
mination that no words could sufficiently 
condemn; — it was enough to determine any 
one to leave England altogether. How could 
dear Elizabeth allow her daughters to degrade 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 259 

themselves by such a practice — worthy only 
of barbarians ? How could she hope that any 
well -judging man — any one, comme il faut, 
would marry girls who were known — actually 
known — unblushingly — to make tea in the 
drawing-room, and not only to make it, but 
apparently to glory in making it !" 

" Mais, c'est inconcevable, ces modes an- 
glaises ! — c'est emhetant, pa! Ilfaut venir ct 
Paris, ma cMrie'' 

" No, thank you, Beatrice ; I prefer my 
own country. To me, there's no place like 
home !" 

" Ah I c'est inoui /" — 

Her last words, as her sister accompanied 
her to her room, were comforting — 

" Merci bien, ma chlre ! — spent a ravishing 
evening — ^but these campagnes ! they are sad 
to die ! The town, ah ! the town ! speak to 
me of that ! On ne s'ennuie pas en ville, il 
faut avoiier. — Bonsoir, cJier ange,..'' 



260 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Reconnois la voix qui frappe ton oreille. 

CORNEILLE. 

Thus always teasing others — always teased — 
Her only pleasure is — to be displeased. 

COWPER. 

... Ah ! why with us delight to rest ! 
Hence — far away — tormenting Power, 

Unwelcome Guest! 
. . . Ah ! foe to peace ! from us remove 

Thy dreaded sway. 

Mrs. Hemans. 



^'Ah! quelle chaleur insupportable I mats 
on etouffe ipV were the first words poor 
Mr. Heneage heard uttered at his bedside, by 
a voice whose accents had never at any time 
sounded pleasingly in his ears. What with 
the sentiment it gave utterance to now, and 
his unmitigated horror of the French language 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 261 

at any time, he felt in for a sharper fit of 
gout than usual. 

^^ Eh Men, mon ami; et comment pa va-filf 
Mais, vous voilcl afft^euseinent clianffel vous 
avez Vair (Tim moiirant. It makes fear — cela 
fait peur. But one cannot wonder, avec cela 
quHl y a ifi une odeur abominable de drogues, 
Pouah ! cela ejnpeste ! Tenez, je rtCen vais 
vous Jeter toutes ces horreurs lei par lafenMre 
— by the window. Permettez,...''' 

" Good gracious, ma'am ! I beg you will 
do no such thing ! — those medicines are essen- 
tial to me. And allow me to say, ma'am, 
that as I am but an indifferent French scholar, 
if not disagreeable to you, I should prefer the 
use of the mother tongue whilst we converse. 
I never studied French." 

" Ah ! what pity ! Mais il est encore 
temps ! — My faith ! what a wicked nightcap ! 
— quel mediant bonnet de nuit I Mais est ce 
qn'on porte une chose semblable f Dieu ! que 
cela vous rend laid /" 



262 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

*' I am sorry my nightcap does not satisfy 
you, madam. — This visit is a great honour, 
and I rejoice to see you well." 

" Me well ! ah, par e^emple ! qui est-ce qui 
vous a dit fa f Me well ! when I am dying 
of ills of chest — absolutely dying of ills of 
chest ! c'est singulier, fa, par esemple .'.... 
Mais c'est une horreur, que ce bonnet de nuit 

idr 

" My wife informed me, madam, that you 
seemed in excellent health." 

" She inform you ! — she know nothing of 
me, your wife ; with that that no one care for 
me — no one understand my constitution — my 
ills ! My children ! they absolutely detest 
me ! — It is hardly believable." 

" I hope not, ma'am ! I hope not !" 

" But I tell you that yes ! — and my own 
family, they absolutely render me foolish ! 
They feel no more for my ills of chest than if 
I were an old shoe ! C'est inoui /" 

" Really, madam, I cannot believe...." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 263 

" But I beg, sir, you not contradict me ! 
I know these things, I assure you, my good 
Mr. a... a... and I suffer with a patience ab- 
solutely of a martyr. Ma poitrine me tue ! 
I know it! — however, I submit...." 

" I hope, madam, your fears may exceed 
the reality. I believe disease of the chest 
generally manifests itself by very consider- 
able...." 

'* Mais non, je vous dis I But now, my 
good Mr. a...., when I tell you that to con- 
tradict me is certain death — absolutely cer- 
tain death.... My ills of nerves are so cruel, 
that the smallest contradiction.... Ah ! I shall 
have one of my ills of nerves now — on the 
instant.... Ah !...." 

" Oh ! e:oodness forbid !" cried the unfor- 
tunate Mr. Heneage, ringing his bell with ex- 
traordinary violence. " Have one moment's 
patience, my dear madam ! wait till some one 
comes !" 

But Mrs. Bridge's ills of nerves could not 



264 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

wait any more than their mistress ; and, when 
the servant appeared, he found himself de- 
stined to the pleasing task of supporting the 
strange lady out of the room, as he best 
might ; whilst his unfortunate master lay suf- 
fering under ills of nerves somewhat more 
real than those of Mrs. Bridge. 

" Ma femme de chanibre, sur le champ .'" 
cried that lady. '' Je me meurs /" 

'' Ma'am !" 

'' Ma femme de chambre, Nigaud.'' 

"Nego! — negus, I suppose, she means. — 
Beg pardon, ma'am, but I don't understand 
parley woo." 

" My woman of the chamber, butor /" 

" 0— h !" 



These scenes were repeated, not once, but 
twenty times a day, till the patience of every 
one in the house was fairly worn out, and the in- 
mates of Little Upton Rectory looked forward 
with feelings of intense and desperate longing 



EVELYN HARCOURT. ^65 

to the time when their extraordinary guest 
should think proper to rid them of the ex- 
ceeding torment of herself and her nerves. 
Poor Mr. Heneage had not had so serious a 
fit of gout for many a long day ; and all 
owing, as he constantly repeated to his wife, 
to the introduction of a mad person into the 
house; whilst Mrs. Harry's flattering notice 
of him to her sister was — ''Ah pa! ma chlre 
Elisabeth, mais ton marl rCa plus le sens com- 
mun ! But it is sad — c'est ineme embetant I 
He has baddened considerably since I saw 
him ! And he carries such an abominable 
nightcap ! it absolutely makes me tremble to 
see ! How can you support such a horror?.... 
Ah ! my poor cherished angel, how I pity you ! 
equally as spouse and mother, your fate is 

worthy of tears Ce monstre Icil mais sa 

laideur est epouvantable ! fen suis encore touts 
tremblante — toiite saisie. ..." 



Nothing was more remarkable than the 

VOL. I. N 



^66 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

costumes of various kinds which Mrs. Harry 
thought proper to adopt at different hours of 
the day. Sometimes she would come down 
in the morning in what she called " des pits 
flottants,'' like a Grecian statue; sometimes 
she would wear a bonnet and green veil at 
breakfast ; and oftener still, to walk out in, 
an old black pelisse lined with fur, though 
the weather was almost too hot to be en- 
durable. 

Her caprices, too, were as endless as her 
costumes. Sometimes she would take a fit of 
sentiment, and insist upon sitting the whole 
morning almost in Mrs. Heneage's pocket, 
" pour contempler ct son aise les traits cheris 
de cette bonne Elisabeth — cette eoscellente mire 
de familhr Sometimes she would entreat 
to be left alone, as her ills of nerves made it 
absolute torture to her to hear a sound, or 
behold a human countenance ; and sometimes 
she would complain of the cruelty of every 
one, in abandoning her to herself — she, who 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 267 

could never endure solitude without havintr 

o 

an attack of " les vapeurs /" 

^' Ah fa, Mr. a , je vais quitter voire 

tranquille demeure — the asylum of peace !" 
exclaimed she, one morning, as she entered 
the breakfast-room, where Mr. Heueage had 
resumed his usual place. This was too exhi- 
larating news to be quarrelled with, even 
though expressed in French ; and Mr. Heneage 
reflected with rapture how much more tran- 
quil his " demeure " would be under such 
circumstances. 

" Indeed, ma'am !" replied he, endeavour- 
ing not to look too cheerful. ** In what di- 
rection do you contemplate bending your 
steps?" 

'* Ah ! I shall go to Mr. Bridge, the father 
of my lost tresor, car il me faut ahsolument 
de V argent! D'abord, je rCen ai point. I 
have nothing but fifty-three half-crowns — 
that is absolutely all !" 

** Fifty-three half-crowns, Mrs. Bridge !" 

N 2 



268 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" But I tell you that is all " 

Adelaide was heard explaining, in a low 
voice to her cousins, that mamma had a pecu- 
liarity — whenever a half-crown was given her 
in change, she always put it away in a bag 
she kept for the purpose. She said it would 
be more useful with other half-crowns than by 
itself. 

Looks were exchanged — and one or two 
smiles quickly suppressed, when Mrs. Bridge's 
voice was heard again — 

" I have written to Frederic, to come and 
conduct me to the father of my adorable 
defunt ; and he writes to me that he shall be 
here after to-morrow — aprh demain, ou bien 
not till the week following. S'il retards son 
arrivee — ah ! I wait here." 

A dead silence followed this announcement. 
It is needless to observe that ardent vows 
were offered up for the speedy arrival of 
Frederic. 

" Ah ! I see it all !" cried Mrs. Eridge, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 2G9 

after a pause, her eyes sparkling with pas- 
sion. " You die of envy to disembarrass 
yourselves of me — to get me out from this 
roof ! — I see it ! Your hurting silence is 

more shocking than words And these poor 

angels !" turning to her daughter — " Eh Men, 
itres cheris, sidvez-moi ; nous allons moiirir 
sur le grand chemin. This is no more an 
asylum for us. We go die on the grand 
road in each other's arms ! " 

But her daughters manifested no desire to 
die under any such circumstances. They did 
not even rise from their seats when she moved 
towards the door ; so that, finding herself 
unattended in her flight, she thought better 
of it, and sank down in an arm-chair, ex- 
claiming, in a pathetic tone, ''Ahl je n'en 
puis plus ! Je me sens atteinte au cceur /" 

The youngest of the Hen cages began to 
giggle convulsively, and to pinch her sister's 
elbows. 

'' It is very unkind to talk so, sister !" sai 



270 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Mrs. Heneage, with a manner of almost hope- 
less dejection, " We do all we can to make 
you comfortable. I'm sure I strive, from 
morning till night, but I don't know how to 
manage to satisfy you...." 

" What would you have, madam — what 
would you have?" urged Mr. Heneage's 
stronger voice, in a tone of very considerable 
irritation. 

Mrs. Eridge put her fingers into her ears — 

" Ah I mais quelle horreur ! cette voia^ Id 
me fait mal auw dents. My hairs dress them- 
selves up ! Ah, 'par e£i?emple ! I am glad I 
am not of your paroisse, my dear Mr. a... a, 
if you preach like that !" 

And Mrs. Harry, having placed herself in 
convenient vicinity to the sofa, gave out the 
usual announcement that she had " a weak- 
ness ;" and sank back in hysterics into the 
arms of her sister and her daughters. 

The next day, being Sunday, the lady de- 
clared her intention of going to hear her bro- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 271 

ther-in-law preach ; an attention which, after 
the insinuation of the previous day respecting 
his voice, he could just as well have dispensed 
with. " Her ills of chest, indeed," she said, 
" had never been worse ; but that was no 
matter ; go she would, even if she had to be 
carried into church !" 

Mr. Heneage felt nervous, what with cer- 
tain twinges in his right foot, and the appre- 
hension of her remarks ; and when he saw 
the lady sailing majestically up the aisle in a 
Greek cap, embroidered by herself, a cashmere 
shawl negl'gently thrown over her shoulders, 
and the aforementioned fur pelisse, and per- 
ceived that the eyes of the whole congrega- 
tion were fixed with unspeakable wonder 
upon her, he felt himself actually blushing 
with shame and vexation in his own reading- 
desk ! There was, however, no help for it ; 
and, excepting that she insisted on singing 
the psalms considerably louder than any other 
person, notwithstanding the hints of her 



272 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

daughters, her conduct in church was per- 
fectly decorous and inoffensive. 

The next day ended the endurance of the 
Heneages; Frederic arrived, and Mrs. Harry 
and her daughters took their departure for 
Oriel. 

The old lady and gentleman had never seen 
their daughter-in-law but once, shortly after 
her marriage, and they retained but a slight 
recollection of her person. They felt some- 
what nervous when they found she was coming 
to Oriel ; but they prepared to receive her 
with the cordiality due to the widow of their 
son ; and they rejoiced to find that her bro- 
ther, whom they sincerely liked, was coming 
with her. 

Mrs. Harry had determined upon a scene, 
of course, on arriving — scenes being always 
her passion ; but she was frustrated in her 
intention by the good old couple coming out 
to the porch to receive her. She would not, 
however, be entirely baulked ; — she darted 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 273 

out of the carriage the moment she perceived 
them, and, rushing up to the old gentleman, 
exclaimed — ^^ Ah ! d la Jin je le vois ! le 
pere de man tresor ! Ah ! what delicious 
emotion humects my eyelids !" 

The father of her treasure, however, who 
scarcely understood a word of French, kept 
shaking her by the hand, and repeating — 
** Thank ye, ma'am, thank ye ! — ^glad to see ye, 
my dear ma'am l^These fine lassies my grand- 
daughters ? — bless their hearts — thank ye, 
ma'am ! Helen, ray love, these are your 
cousins — your poor Uncle Harry's children, 
you know, love. Ay, poor boy !" 

The old lady was equally hospitable in her 
way, though she looked with amazement upon 
her daughter-in-law's Greek cap, fur pelisse, 
and other singularities ; and wondered, just 
as keenly as she had done years ago, how 
dear Harry could ever have fancied so strange 
a body. 

" Dear ma'am ! sure you must be tired — 

N 5 



274 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and you, my dears ! — but I hope you'll refresh 
yourselves before dinner. Captain Percy, 
ain't they tired? — not at all — oh! well! 
young folks don't tire so easily, I know. We 
had the dear boys here lately, ma'am ; — 
so grown ! quite men ! Bless their hearts ! — 
we were so concerned to lose them !" 

" Ah I qu'il est doua; pour le coeur d'une 
mere ! — it is very gentle for the mother's heart 
to hear such distinguished testimony — such 
high consideration for the delights of her 
soul." 

" Bless me !" thought Mr. Bridge ; " one 
would think she were French in reality. Can 
it be poor Harry's widow, after all ? . . . " 

In the mean time, Helen's thoughts and 
feelings were neither idle nor insensible. She 
was beginning to be conscious of certain sen- 
sations, which, though of a novel and agita- 
ting, were by no means of an unpleasing kind. 
How much indeed had she not felt at the 
prospect of meeting Frederic Percy again ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 275 

How often had she endeavoured to picture to 
herself the expression of his countenance — 
the manner of his greeting ! Had he looked 
forward to seeing her with any of the same 
pleasure of which she had been conscious? 
She longed to know. 

What a strano^e thino^ is love ! That one 
little instant, when their hands met, and they 
exchanged a few words of common salutation 
— so common, that all the world might have 
heard them — repaid Helen for days and nights 
of restless thought, and a degree of dejection 
for which she could scarcely account to her- 
self. For one single moment, her hand rested 
in his, and his eyes were fixed on hers — not 
unkindly. 

" I must make you acquainted with my 
nieces," said he, giving them a little friendly 
push towards her. " They are naughty girls, 
but, after a little of your example, we may 
hope they will become better." 

She soon felt perfectly at ease with these 



276 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

young ladies; and tlieyj on their part, en- 
chanted to find one so gentle, sympathizing, 
and amiable as she was, speedily confided all 
their crriefs to her — their trials from mamma, 
their weariness, their detestation of the life 
they led, all their sorrows, in short ; whilst 
she listened, sympathized, and advised. 

The evening of their arrival, Mrs. Harry 
announced herself to be too '' soufrante,'' 
too overcome by the agitation of beholding 
the parents of her 'Uresor,'' to appear at 
dinner ; the good old couple, therefore, who 
really believed her to be unwell, were unre- 
mitting in their attentions, their messages, 
and offers of service. They laid it all down 
to her tenderness for the memory of their son, 
and were all the better disposed in her favour 
in consequence. But the next day she again 
declared herself unable to appear ; " her ills 
of nerves were so severe ;" — and she accord- 
ingly solaced herself in her own room with 
reading a French novel she had picked up in 



EVELYN HARCOURT. ^77 

a town on the road ; and by that means left 
the rest of the party at liberty to amuse 
themselves, after their own fashion — a treat 
her unfortunate daughters were but little ac- 
customed to, and which they enjoyed doubly 
in consequence. 

" Oh, Uncle Fred !" cried Adelaide, as he 
lingered with them by the waterside for a 
few moments, after Helen had gone in to 
dress for dinner, " what a charming creature 
Miss Eridge is ! and so pretty ! How I do love 
her already ! Why did you never tell us 
what a sweet creature she was ?" 

"/* she a sweet creature ?" 

" Oh ! Uncle Fred, don't you think so ?" 

** He does, I am sure," said Julia ; " he 
must !" 

But Uncle Fred had thrown a stone into 
the water ; and he seemed to be attentively 
watching the circles it had occasioned, as 
they grew wider and wider. His thoughts 
were evidently not with the present scene. 



278 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" \Miat are you thinking about so intently. 
Uncle Fred ?" inquired Adelaide, looking up 
in his face with a certain degree of curiosity. 

" I was thinking does your mother come 

down to dinner to-day, or not ?" 

" And is that all you were thinking about 

— reflecting so deeply Oh! you are not 

telling us truth ! — it was something else — 
something much more important than that. 
Now, what was it — I am dying to know I" 

" Is your mother coming down, naughty 
girl?" 

"Oh! I really don't know ?.... she did not 
say she should not, so I suppose so.... But 
why do you care so particularly to know?.... 
do tell me...." 

** Because let us go in and dress for 

dinner, that we may be down before her..." 

"Now, Uncle Fred, how can you be so 
proToking !...." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 279 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Clytemnestre. C'est done a moi d'embrasser vos genoux — 
Achille (la relevant). Ah, madame ! 

I love not many words. 

Airs Well that Ends Well 

O, I shall die for food ! Here will I lie down, and mea- 
sure out my grave. 

As you Like it. 

Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow. 

Const. I am not mad — I would to Heaven I were, 
For then 'tis like I should forget myself. 
Oh, if I could, what griefs should I forget ! 

King John. 

Mr. Bridge was one day sitting quietly in 
his own antique justice-room, thinking to him- 
self what a blessing it was to rest a little after 
the excitement of Mrs. Harry's sharp voice 
and endless superlatives, w^hen the door sud- 
denly opened, and Mrs. Harry herself walked 



280 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

in. The poor old gentleman would almost as 
soon have seen a ghost ; but, before he had 
had time to recover from the shock of her 
appearance, he found his knees tightly com- 
pressed between two sharp bony hands, and a 
head, encompassed in a scarlet cap with a 
green tassel, laid upon them. 

*' Ah, my father ! my respectable heau-' 
pere /" sobbed Mrs. Harry. 

" Bless me, ma'am ! oh dear !" cried her 
^eaw-p^^^, struggling frantically to free him* 

self. " Pray !....dear me !....what can ! oh, 

lord !...," 

But still his knees were compressed as 
though in a vice, 

" Excellent father of a family ! father of 
my tresor I you see the wife of your adorable 
son denuee de tout ! I am without money ; 
I come to you for succour !" 

Mr. Bridge's first feeling was one of in- 
dignation at this address ; but even that was 
absorbed in his intense desire to effect the 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 281 

emancipation of his knees. The woman's fin- 
gers must be of iron ! 

** Ma'am, excuse me ; but I must beg, 
ma'am, you will rise from that posture — so 
extremely unbecoming my poor son Harry's 
widow, and on all accounts so highly.... ma'am, 
I do assure you, you occasion me serious in- 
convenience !" 

'^ Ah, je me meurs T cried Mrs. Harry, 
gently sinking backwards upon the footstool 
of this " father of a family." 

But, after a moment's reflection, it occurred 
to her that it was an impolitic moment in 
which to faint, just when she had got him all 
to herself, and might effect something import- 
ant. Having, therefore, as she said, ''fait 
des efforts inouis,'' she raised herself upon a 
chair, and proceeded to tremble in a very dis- 
tressing and remarkable manner, and to smell 
incessantly at a salts bottle, with a massive 
gold top, studded with precious stones. 

Mr. Bridge, finding his knees thus happily 



282 EA^ELYN HARCOURT. 

delivered, then began to expostulate with her. 
He recapitulated all he had done for her at 
different times — alluded to the warning he 
had given on the last occasion of his paying 
her debts, that he would never do the same 
for her again — and declared that he could not 
consider himself justified in impoverishing 
others to meet the demands of her extrava- 
gance ; and that, in short, he could not and 
would not afford her any larger allowance than 
that she now received. 

"But I am denuee de tout, I tell you, my 
respectable parent ! you will not refuse suc- 
cour to the widow of your adorable. ..." 

"Ma'am, the adorable widow of my son 
should learn common sense. You'll excuse 
me, ma'am, but I'm an old man, and a plain- 
spoken one, and I honestly confess I don't 
understand three words of what you say. I 
wouldn't be harsh, ma'am — it's not my nature 
— but I can't, I really can't stand by and see 
such.... In short, ma'am, to be plain with you, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 283 

which is always the best way, I cannot and 
will not give you any more money." 

" Then I starve on the grand road with my 
children! Barbarous! you see me starve...." 

*' Ma'am !" 

" Yes, I disembarrass you of me and of my 
young girls — those children of love ! — on the 
moment we set out !" 

"Bless my soul, ma'am ! Mrs. Harry " 

" Ob, my ills of nerves ! they attack me ! — 
Je me trouve mall ah !...." 

Mr. Bridge was more discomposed than he 
had been for years. He knew not what to do. 
His wife had never fainted in her life, or at 
least not to his knowledge, and it was a sort 
of thing in which he had no experience what- 
ever. His kind heart began to smite him for 
harshness to the widow of his son ; yet, he 
could not but think that widow very odious, 
and her extravagance utterly unpardonable. 
And to talk of quitting the house ! of starving, 
too ! It was really an insult ! 



284 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Mrs. Harry was presently conveyed out of 
the room in a state of rigid and angry insen- 
sibility, though every now and then there were 
sighs, groans, and bursts of consciousness 
strangely to the purpose, inasmuch as the 
words, "Grand road !"— " Starve !" and " My 
tresorP' were distinctly audible. 

For several days after this scene, she 
thought proper to sulk in her own room, 
much to the relief of the old lady and Helen, 
though not to that of her unfortunate daugh- 
ters, whom she obliged to be almost constantly 
with her, simply in order that she might have 
some one on whom to vent her spleen. 

Frederic Percy was indignant at the tyranny 
and injustice of her conduct towards these 
gentle and unoffending girls, whose only fault 
was that they were, if possible, too yielding, 
too ready to submit to her caprices without a 
murmur. But there was no redress. She 
would not listen even to his remonstrances ; 
she had been baffled in her attempts to obtain 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 285 

money, disappointed in her own wishes, and 
now she was in one of her worst fits of ill- 
humour and obstinacy. 

At length, after many days, the lady con- 
descended to reappear below ; but her manner 
was strikingly altered from w^hat it had been, 
and her countenance wore a sullen and gloomy 
expression. 

It was her general practice in the evenings 
to stretch herself on the sofa and go to sleep; 
and every now and then she would wake up, 
and, after staring for a few moments with an 
expression of ineffable disgust at the tranquil 
figure of the old lady, as she sat in her high- 
backed chair at her eternal knitting, would 
exclaim, ''Ah, del! mah c est triste amourir 
icil c'est consider ahlement embetant, parole 
d'honneurl Si cela dure, fen deriendrai 

folle " and would then compose herself to 

sleep again, whilst an occasional snore of a 
portentous description would cause Helen to 
start and stop short in her reading; her 



286 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

grandmother, who was slightly deaf, to look 
round, with a puzzled expression, in search of 
the cause of so extraordinary a sound ; and 
the rest of the party to exchange glances and 
smiles with one another. But no one heeded 
her— no one attempted to disturb her ; it was 
found better to leave her on all occasions en- 
tirely to her own devices ; for opposition or 
remonstrance of any kind, however slight, 
only served to exasperate her, and of course 
occasioned a risk of one of those terrible 
" attaques de nerfs,'' which had now become a 
matter of positive dread to the old couple. 

In the mean time, whilst the sister was thus 
rendering herself anything but agreeable to 
the inmates of Oriel, the brother was each day 
becoming a greater favourite with them all. 
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge had grown quite fond of 
him — he was so cheerful, so entertaining, so 
gentlemanlike ! He never seemed to think it 
irksome nor troublesome to talk to them — to 
devote himself to their pleasure. He would 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 287 

read to them half the evening, if they liked it ; 
and he was always ready to accommodate his 
step to the slower one of the old man during 
his walks, or to listen to the somewhat mono- 
tonous prosing of Mrs. Evidge about her school 
and her poor, her clergyman and her parish. 
In short, he was charming ; and it was difficult 
to say which of the two delighted in him most. 
As for Helen, my readers will already have 
formed a tolerably shrewd guess as to the 
nature of her feelings ; it is therefore unne- 
cessary for me to allude to them more par- 
ticularly, except to observe that the more she 
associated with him, and the more she saw of 
the excellence of his disposition and goodness 
of his heart, the stronger those feelings natu- 
rally became. 

Frederic Percy was much struck with the 
great change that had taken place in Helen's 
spirits since last he saw lier. Nothing could 
have been more cheerful or lighthearted than 
she was during his first visit to Oriel; but 



288 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

now she was often both serious and abstracted 
— sometimes even apparently unhappy. Little 
did he imagine that he himself had something 
to do with her absent and thoughtful de- 
meanour, and that he occasioned her many an 
anxious and painful feeling, though often, too, 
very delicious ones. But the truth was, that 
Helen had at this time a cause of depression 
totally unconnected with Frederic Percy. 
The unkindness of Evelyn had sunk deep into 
her heart. It was the first great mortification 
she had experienced in life ; but it was one 
from which she thought she should never en- 
tirely recover — never, certainly, could its re- 
membrance be effaced from her memory. That 
Evelyn should doubt her, should refuse to be- 
lieve her positive assertions, and even to listen 
to her, was as wonderful as it was terrible; 
that they should have parted in anger, on one 
side at least, was agonizing to reflect upon — 
and all on account of a promise of secresy 
which had been extorted from her, and which 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 289 

she was too conscientious to break, but which 
she now bitterly repented ever having given. 

Sometimes, she thought of writing to Mr. 
Sherborne, and entreating him to release her 
from this promise, or at least to make an ex- 
ception in favour of Evelyn ; but then, what 
reason could she assign to him for such a re- 
quest? Might not he suspect, or at least infer, 
something of Evelyn's jealousy, and of her 
love for himself from it ? 

And, after all, was it not kinder to Evelyn 
not to undeceive her at present ? If she con- 
tinued to believe that Mr. Sherborne were at- 
tached to another person, she might conquer 
her own passion for him in time; but, as long 
as she fancied him free, it was clear she would 
still hope on; and Helen believed that it would 
be hope thrown away. She felt convinced 
that he had no feeling for Evelyn beyond that 
of interest for a pleasing and captivating per- 
son ; — there was nothing like love on his side, 
she felt only too certain. 

VOL. I. O 



290 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

But we may as well explain the circum- 
stances that gave rise to this unfortunate mis- 
understandingbetween the friends; and, in order 
to do so, we must carry our readers back to the 
period of Helen's last visit in Grosvenor Square. 

A few days after her arrival there, she had 
chanced, in the course of conversation, to al- 
lude to the singular Recluse whom she had so 
strangely discovered a short time before at 
Wynnesland. Lady Belharris and several 
gentlemen were present, and there had been a 
discussion about handwriting; some of the 
party maintaining that it was indicative of 
character, and others denying positively that 
it was so. Evelyn took from her own and 
her friend's reticules all the letters they con- 
tained, and, half in jest, half in earnest, held 
them out, that the directions might be scru- 
tinized, and the characters of the writers de- 
duced from them. Among the rest was a 
letter from Mrs. Howard, whose writing was 
very peculiar. On this being examined and 



EVELYN HARCOITRT. 291 

commented upon, Mr. Chisliolm, one of the 
gentlemen present, appeared much struck by 
it, and begged to be allowed to examine it 
more closely. Helen observed at the time 
that his manner was peculiar, and that his 
countenance changed as he looked nearer at 
it ; and thinking that he might possibly know 
something of Mrs. Howard, she took an op- 
portunity, whilst the others were still busily 
discussing their theories, to inquire whether 
he were acquainted with her. 

His answer was confused — almost unintel- 
ligible ; and he immediately began to ask so 
many questions respecting Mrs. Howard, with 
so much eagerness and anxiety, that Helen 
could scarcely reply to them — and, at last, 
when the conversation of the others seemed 
to be dying away, he whispered an agitated 
entreaty that she would say nothing to any 
one of what had passed, nor indeed mention 
Mrs. Howard again. " It might be of the 
very greatest consequence !" 

o 2 



292 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Helen of course promised, imagining from 
his excited manner that the Recluse might be 
some relation of his, with whose place of abode 
he had thus accidentally become acquainted ; 
and she only trusted that by her unintentional 
betrayal of it to him, she had done her poor 
friend no injury. 

Some time elapsed, and she saw no more of 
Mr. Chisholm. But, one afternoon, during 
their ride, Mr. Sherborne approached, and in 
a low voice informed her that that gentleman 
was at Wynnesland, whither he had gone al- 
most immediately after the conversation with 
her which we have alluded to ; that he had 
seen Mrs. Howard, unknown to herself, and 
made inquiries respecting her, and that he had 
every reason to believe she was a relation of 
his own, who had been long supposed to be 
dead. She was, however, so altered in ap- 
pearance, (if it were she) that he could feel 
no positive certainty as to her identity, and 
being apprehensive, from the accounts he had 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 293 

heard from the Penrhyns, of her state of mind, 
that, if he were to present himself suddenly 
before her, it might have a powerful and inju- 
rious effect upon her nerves, he had commis- 
sioned Mr. Sherborne to inquire of Miss Eridge 
whether she could give no further clue, no in- 
formation, respecting this singular individual, 
which might lead to a greater certainty in his 
mind as to her real name. " Much," Mr. 
Sherborne said, " depended on her identity 
being proved. There was very large property 
to which she was entitled, if it were she ; and 
Mr. Chisholm was in a state of the most pain- 
ful and intense anxiety upon the subject. 
Above all, he insisted on the strictest and 
most solemn secresy ; there were circum- 
stances connected with his relation, which on 
no account would he have proclaimed to the 
world, or even inquired into. His friend Mr. 
Sherborne must prevail upon Miss Eridge to 
give the most solemn promise to betray to no 
living being a syllable connected with the 



294 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

affair — not even to allude to it in the remotest 
manner. 

Helen gave all the information in her power, 
but it was little enough, as my readers are 
already aware. She knew of no person with 
whom Mrs. Howard was in the habit of cor- 
responding — of no other name by which she 
had been at any time known. She was even 
ignorant in what manner or from whence she 
received her little income, or what had been 
her place of abode before she came to Wynnes- 
land. All she knew of her was her sorrow, 
and her strange endurance ; and of that she 
told what she had seen and heard — the dark 
hints — the mysterious allusions — the occa- 
sional self-accusations that had burst forth, as 
it were, in spite of herself. When asked by 
Mr. Sherborne the fearful question whether 
she believed her to be insane, she unhesi- 
tatingly answered, " No ! Her manner was 
not that of insanity, but of a deep and intense 
mental anguish, which might in the end pro- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. S95 

dace, though it had not yet as she believed 
produced, insanity." 

Mr. Chisholm was awaiting Helen's answer, 
before he should decide on presenting himself 
to Mrs. Howard, and making the inquiries he 
desired, himself. He wished to know more 
particularly what, in her opinion, would be the 
risk of a person suddenly presenting himself 
before her, who had been connected with the 
former cause of her sorrow, and whom she 
sought, perhaps, to avoid. 

Helen could only urge great caution in 
such an attempt. She thought that, in Mrs. 
Howard's condition, it was impossible to fore- 
see the effect of any fresh agony — any un- 
closing of former wounds, which were yet so 
far from being healed. She would give no 
advice ; how could she, where she did not 
even know the circumstances ? But she urged 
the greatest caution, and, if possible, prepara- 
tion by letter. 

On the day of the breakfast at Mr. Euston 



296 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Trevor's, Mr. Sherborne had received an agi» 
tated note from his friend, saying that he had 
at last had an interview with Mrs. Howard, 
whom he now knew beyond a doubt to be his 
long lost relative ; but that what had passed 
between them during their meeting had been 
of a nature to make it rather to be hoped that 
she was insane. 

And now he knew not what to do ; for, 
since their interview, she had quitted the 
Penrhyns, and no traces of her could be dis- 
covered. Her absence had not been detected 
at first, for, as she was in the habit of often 
locking herself into her room for hours toge- 
ther, (at which times no one ever thought (rf 
disturbing her) her having fastened her door 
on this occasion excited no remark ; and she 
must have been gone many hours before her 
departure was even suspected. It was dis- 
covered, too, first, in the evening, so late, that 
it was impossible to take any steps towards 
pursuing her that night ; and when the Pen- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 297 

rhyns, alarmed beyond measure at her disap- 
pearance, made every possible inquiry con- 
cerning her the next morning, they never 
thought of the only really efficient step, 
namely, sending to inform Mr. Chisholm of it; 
for though they were aware, from his frequent 
and minute inquiries, that he was interested 
about her, they were totally ignorant of his 
recent meeting with her, which indeed he had 
purposely contrived should take place during 
one of her distant walks. 

Two days, therefore, elapsed before he was 
even informed of her escape ; and then, when 
he did set on foot the most vigilant inquiry, 
not the smallest trace of her could be dis- 
covered. The Pen rhyns' fears all tended to- 
wards self-destruction ; they had often dreaded 
such a result during her paroxysms of severer 
suffering ; and they declared their belief that 
she was far more likely to be found in some 
one of the adjacent ponds, which they per- 
sisted in dragging day after day, than in any 

o 5 



298 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

crowded city or secluded cottage 1 But Mr. 
Chisholm knew enough to feel a very tolerable 
certainty that the unfortunate lady had not 
destroyed herself. Her sudden departure was 
to him perfectly to be accounted for ; but he 
was not the less anxious to discover her place 
of refuge. 

She had left most of her scanty wardrobe 
behind her, and a note, begging Mrs. Pen- 
rhyn's acceptance of it, and of the amount of 
rent due up to that day three months. A few 
w^ords of thanks and farewell to the family 
were added, but the letter afforded not the 
slightest clue as to her intentions or destina- 
tion. A sentence, however, at the end, half 
erased, but with some difficulty made out as 
far as it had gone, might, it was hoped, lead to 
some discovery in the end. 

' ' Pray put the enclosed letter to Miss Eridge 
in the post immediately after " 

She had probably changed her mind, and 
reflected that it would be better to post this 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 299 

letter herself, than to trust it to others ; but 
one fact might be gathered from the mention 
of it — that she had written a letter, which 
Helen would probably soon receive. 

Mr. Chisholm therefore begged his friend 
to inquire immediately whether Miss Eridge 
had heard from her, and if she had, what was 
the substance of her communication, and what 
the postmark of her letter. Helen had re- 
ceived none as yet, but she promised to inform 
Mr. Sherborne as soon as she should do so ; 
and it was the discussion of this matter which 
had occasioned their confidential communica- 
tion on the day of the party at Mr. Euston 
Trevor's, and which had so cruelly excited 
poor Evelyn's jealousy. 

The next morning — the morning of the 
friend's quarrel — Helen had received the ex- 
pected letter, which she was on the point of 
enclosing to Mr. Sherborne, when that gen- 
tleman himself appeared in Grosvenor Square, 
with a message from Mr. Chisholm, who had 



300 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

arrived in town, and was anxious to have an 
interview with Helen himself, 

Mrs. Howard's letter was as follows : — > 

"My beloved young friend will be surprised 
— and in her gentle kindness even distressed—* 
to hear that the unfortunate being to whom 
she devoted herself with such noble generosity, 
has left her late asylum at the Penrhyns. My 
reasons for doing so, I cannot divulge ; but 
this much I may say, that, since I lost you, I 
have endured a shock greater than any I have 
known for years — one that made it impossible 
for me to continue where I was. I am, there- 
fore, once more a wanderer on the face of the 
earth, and you will never again have the 
peaceful tenour of your life disturbed by the 
sight of misery such as mine. I shall see you 
no more, my dearly loved Helen, but the bless- 
ing of one, heart-broken, but not ungrateful, 
will be yours, and you shall never be forgotten 
in my prayers. Farewell " 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 301 

This letter was dated from Wyiinesland on 
the day of her departure from thence ; but it 
had only a twopenny postmark upon it, and 
must therefore have been brought to London 
either by herself, or some one else, and posted 
there. 

Mr. Sherborne promised to deliver it to his 
friend, and earnestly entreated Helen to grant 
that friend a few moments' interview. It was 
true she could probably tell him nothing he 
did not already know, but he had set his heart 
upon seeing her, and, harassed and depressed 
as he had been by the whole occurrence, Mr. 
Sherborne was anxious this boon should not 
be denied him. Helen at length therefore 
consented to see him ; and it was whilst dis- 
cussing the best time for him to call upon her 
that Evelyn had entered, and detected her and 
Mr. Sherborne together. 

The quarrel that immediately followed be- 
tween the girls determined Helen upon re- 
turning home at once, which, as she had her 



302 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

own maid with her, she was fortunately able 
to do ; and having hastily made her prepara- 
tions, and left a note with one of the servants 
for Mr. Sherborne, informing him of the sud- 
den change in her plans, and the consequent 
impossibility of her seeing his friend, she took 
her departure with a melancholy and crushed 
heart. 

From that time she had heard nothing fur- 
ther of Mrs. Howard, but Mr. Sherborne had 
returned her that lady's letter, promising to 
inform her immediately if his friend should 
succeed in discovering any traces of the fugi- 
tive. 

My readers must excuse this long and 
tedious digression, which was necessary, how- 
ever, to preserve the thread of the narrative, 
and explain the reasons of Helen's conduct. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 303 



CHAPTER XV. 

Paul. The sweetest, dearest, creature's dead. 

\st Lord. The higher powers forbid! 

Paul. She's dead . . . 
... go and see : if you can bring 
Tincture or lustre in her cheek, her eye — 
Heat outwardly, or breath within, I'll serve you 
As I would do the gods. 

Winter's Tale. 

V enfant. Je I'ainie. 
Leonor. Vous I'aimez ! 

CORNEILLE. 

A de plus hauts partis, Rodriques doit pretendre. 

Ibid. 

''' Ah fa, my dear Fred ! — what a horrible 
person the young Bridge ! " observed Mrs. 
Harry to her brother one evening, as they 
were descending the stairs on their way to 
the library, where the family were assembled 
just before tea. 



304 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Pray, who do you mean by the young* 
Bridge ?" 

'* But, as if you did not know la jeune 
Bridge — that one they call Helen ! She is 
insupportable !" 

" I differ ftom you then. I think her 
remarkably pleasing." 

" Ah, defend me from her ! — a young person 
who in this moment makes the tea in the 
saloon ! You are infinitely too civil to her ! 
Now won't she go and fall in love with you ? 
My faith, yes !" 

Her brother fixed his eyes intently on her 
countenance. 

" If you think proper to talk so of Miss 
Bridge, sister, I must beg you will not allude 
to her ao^ain before me. I will not suffer her 
to be made . . . . " 

" Ah, is it possible ! My worst suspicions 
verified ! Mais elle Va ensorcele, cette petite 
morveuse ! Well, my brother, I would ra- 
ther see you spread out dead before me, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 305 

than behold you the spouse of that detest- 
able...." 

" Silence, or we shall quarrel !" cried Fre- 
deric, in a fierce tone, " and that I do not 
wish to do for your sake, as well as that of 
your children. But, by heavens, you shall 
not abuse that girl in my presence !" 

As he spoke, they approached the library- 
door, and he entered the room with a feeling 
of greater irritation than he was often con- 
scious of. But the scene of happy domestic 
peace that met his view in that quaint old 
library soon calmed him into a better frame 
of mind. 

The venerable old man was sitting in his 
accustomed chair, listening to the voice of his 
grand -daughter, who was reading to him, 
according to nightly custom. As Frederic 
entered, Helen raised her, eyes, and for one 
short moment they rested upon him ; but they 
were instantly withdrawn again, and fell upon 
the page before her. There was something, 



306 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

however, in that momentary glance that filled 
his heart with gladness, and made all things 
appear suddenly bright to him. And with 
what delight did he listen to the tones of that 
gentle voice, which was a little, a very little 
lowered since his entrance ! — 

He placed himself in an arm-chair at some 
distance, where he could observe her without 
her seeing him ; and then, pretending to com- 
pose himself to sleep, he in reality abandoned 
himself to the dreamy delight of his own 
thoughts. He heard Mrs. Harry's audible 
sighs, her Mon Dieu^ ! and " quel horreur^ /" 
evidently levelled at him, without betraying 
the smallest consciousness ; he observed her 
take off her " bonnet a V impossible,''' as she 
chose to denominate the strange mass of 
frippery with which her maid had bedizened 
her head, and arrange herself on the sofa to 
sleep; he heard the jocular observations of 
his nieces to each other concerning his own 
drowsiness ; and perceived Helen turn round, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 307 

and give one hasty glance at him, as she over- 
heard them too. But still he affected to be 
unconscious, and, as no one disturbed him, he 
was able to admire at his ease those long, fair, 
silken ringlets, the graceful head, and beau- 
tiful form of the young girl, as she sat beside 
her old grandfather, with the quaintly-bound 
volume in her hand. 

What a picture it was ! with the sombre 
wainscot, and the gigantic carved mantel- 
piece, forming an admirable background, 
which threw out into light those two exquisite 
heads, each exquisite in its own way ; whilst 
the figure of the old woman quietly knitting 
in the shade, with her sober-coloured gar- 
ments, added inexpressibly to the effect of 
the group. 

At length, the chapter was finished, Helen 
closed the book, and there was a short pause, 
during which Frederic affected suddenly to 
rouse himself, and, jumping up, advanced to- 
wards the tea-table, where he knew Helen 



308 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

would immediately join his nieces. She was, 
however, arrested in the act of doing so by 
her grandmother. 

" Helen, love, I've been knitting very 
strangely, I'm afraid, somehow ! Do just 
come and undo this knot for me before you 
make tea, there's a dear ! I can't see as I 
used, even with my specs; but young folks 
like you . . . . " 

Helen took the knitting. Perhaps she 
might wish that it had not required her assist- 
ance just then ; but, if such a thought occurred 
to her, she did not give it utterance, but qui- 
etly, according to custom, undid the knots, set 
it to rights, and returned it to Mrs. Eridge. 

" It is all right now, grandmamma." 

But the old lady did not answer. She had 
sunk back in her chair, with her spectacles in 
her hand, tired and weary. 

Helen laid the work upon her lap. 

" Here is your knitting, ma'am — it is ready 
for you now." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 309 

" Come, come ! you must rouse yourself, 
my dear Mary," said Mr. Eridge ; *' you know 
you always scold me if I let you get dozing 
after dinner ! Musn't be lazy, my love." 

'* Grandmamma, grandmamma !" cried Helen, 
in a voice whose piercing tones penetrated to 
the hearts of all within that chamber. 

Every one was up in a moment — every one 
instantly surrounded the arm-chair of Mrs. 
Eridge. 

There she was, apparently asleep, her eyes 
closed, and her countenance wearing its own 
gentle and benevolent expression. There was 
almost a smile upon her lips. Her gray hair 
was parted on her still smooth brow ; one 
hand was on her knees, on which her spec- 
tacles had dropped ; the other rested on the 
arm of the chair, in an attitude of the most 
profound repose. It looked like sleep; but 
it was, in reality, the sleep which knows no 
waking — it was death I 

Who can describe the scene that followed ? 



310 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

— the unspeakable anguish of the old man — 
the agony of Helen — the horror of all ! What 
a contrast that chamber now, to what it had 
been but a few moments before, when Peace 
had seemed to brood there, breathing an 
atmosphere of sanctity around ! Now Death 
had entered — unseen, unheard — without a 
moment's warning, and had sought out one of 
the little circle — one so beloved ! 

In a space of time almost incredible, me- 
dical assistance was procured ; the servants 
flew in the cause of their beloved mistress. 
No one would abandon hope — no one would 
believe it was really death ! 

And when, at length, it became but too 
plain that she was gone, that no earthly 
power could recal her, and even the aged 
widower knelt him down beside the breathless 
remains of her with whom he had spent a 
lifetime, and bowed his head beneath his 
calamity — each, even of the household, retired 
for a time to some secret place, where they 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 311 

might weep away some of their heart-sorrow ; 
and not an eye closed that weary night 
throughout the house. 

The news spread like wildfire in the sur- 
rounding neighbourhood. The poor, with 
whom she had mixed for years on terms not 
of mere charity, but of daily intercourse and 
friendly sympathy, mourned as for a parent ; 
and numbers flocked to the house the follow- 
ing days, with the touching entreaty that they 
might be allowed some trifle the lady had 
touched, be it ever so small — a sock or a 
mitten she had knitted, or a few stitches of 
her work. " It should be kept for her pre- 
cious sake, just to remind of her goodness, 
and how she had been beloved by her own 
poor ! " 

There was scarcely an individual, high or 
low, for miles round, who did not attend her 
funeral ; and though there was no pomp, no 
ostentation, no train of hired mourners, there 
was the heartfelt sorrow which cannot be 



312 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

bought, and which nothing but a life of good- 
ness can produce. 

Every one was astonished at the firm- 
ness of the old man, and every one honoured 
him for the manly fortitude, the beautiful 
submission, with which he bent beneath a 
blow to him utterly overwhelming. That 
he mourned with a sorrow not to be com- 
forted, could be seen by his hollow eye and 
changed countenance ; but it was not a 
sorrow without hope. He looked forward 
to meeting her again in a Land w^here 
they should never be parted more. She 
was only gone before him, where he hoped 
soon to follow ! 

Many a fireside was melancholy the day of 
that funeral, and many a group of careless 
children moved about with subdued voices — 
and many a poor, hard-working woman found 
the tears constantly rise to her eyes, as she 
remembered that the good old lady of Oriel 
was gone to her last long home, and would 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 3 1 3 

never be seen any more among the dependants 
whom she had cherished ! 

Frederic Percy was the greatest comfort 
and assistance to Mr. Eridge at this time ; and 
his kind thoughtfulness spared him many of 
those afflicting details which necessarily follow 
such an event. The old man had conceived a 
real affection for him, and would frequently 
speak of his kindness with strong emotion to 
Helen, who, if she said but little on such occa- 
sions, felt perhaps only so much the more. 

As for Mrs. Harry, she had continued invi- 
sible since the melancholy event. For the 
first week after it, she had had a series of 
hysterical fits and attaques defoiblesse, which 
had nearly worn out her unfortunate daughters 
and maid, whom she kept in close attendance 
upon her, and who were forced to take it by 
turns to sleep in her room, as she declared her 
ills of nerves made it utterly impossible for 
her to remain at night alone, a corpse being 
in the house. 

VOL. I. P 



314 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

After the funeral, she sent a message to 
the old man, through one of her daughters, 
offering to take her departure immediately 
from Oriel, if more agreeable to him, (an offer 
that had already been made in her name, 
though without her knowledge, by her brother) 
but Mr. Eridge returned her a kind answer, 
saying that it never could be his wish to part 
from any of his own family ; and, under his 
present heavy bereavement, the more he Avas 
surrounded by them, the more welcome it 
would be to him. It was a pleasure to have 
his dear grandsons (who had been sent for) 
with him, and he was getting quite fond of 
the girls. As for Frederic Percy, he did not 
know how he should ever part with him ! — 
He hoped they would all stay as long as they 
possibly could — the longer the better I 

Mrs. Harry was very well pleased to stay. 
She was just now composing a French novel, 
which was to set Paris in a flame, and at the 
same time replenish her empty pockets ; — and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 3 1 5 

till this was completed, it was highly expedient 
that she should continue to live free of expense. 
She should certainly stay, till she had married, 
or in some other way disposed of her heroine, 
Anastasie Leopoldine Adoree Zephyrine de la 
Saint Cyr Rochefoucault ! . . . 



" And is it true that you are really going 
on Monday, Captain Percy ?" inquired Helen, 
timidly, and without raising her eyes ; — '' so 
soon !" 

" Alas ! too true. Miss Bridge," replied he ; 
— " I had settled to go to-day, but your dear 
old grandfather pressed — nay, almost forced 
me to stay, and I was but too willing to be 
persuaded." 

" Grandpapa will miss you very, very much. 
I cannot think what he will do without you." 

There was a short pause. She felt his eyes 
were upon her, and she blushed. 

" And will no one else miss me ?" he said 

p 2 



316 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

at length, in a low, agitated voice. " Shall 
you feel no regret at parting, after the time 
we have spent — the scenes we have witnessed 
together ?" 

She blushed yet more deeply — 

" I shall indeed miss you," she said in a 
trembling voice; — "I must be worse than 
heartless — I must be ungrateful not to do so. 
....I shall indeed miss you...." 

" Bless you a thousand times for those 
words !" cried he, tenderly ; '* they do indeed 
comfort me. Oh, Helen ! dearest Helen ! hear 
me for once — hear me now ! How long, how 
ardently, have I not pined to tell you what was 
in my heart ! And though it is in vain — though 
I know it is presumption — madness — to speak 
to you as I am doing, yet can I not refrain 
from telling you how fondly, how passion- 
ately you are worshipped — that to win your 
love, were I but worthy of you, would be ... . 
nay, turn not away from me ! tell me at least 
that you forgive this rashness — my idolatry 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 317 

— that you will think of me with indulgence, 
even if . . . ." 

'* Can you doubt it ?" murmured Heleu 
softly. 

He seized her hand, which yielded unre- 
sistingly to his grasp. 

" Helen, can it be possible? do you not 
deceive me ? , . .Would you be mine ? ray very 
own ? . . . Poor as I am — with nothing, not 
even a home to offer you — nothing but love 
such as no words can express . . . !" 

There was a moment's pause ; and the hearts 
of both beat wildly — the one with expectation 
amounting to agony — the other, with many 
and conflicting emotions. 

" I would !" said Helen, at length ; — and 
there was nothing of doubt nor of hesitation 
in her manner, " I would indeed link my fate 
with yours, were it not . . . ." 

But in vain she struggled to continue ! He 
heard but the first words, and she found 
herself clasped to that noble heart, which 



3 1 8 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

had long ago given itself unreservedly to 
her. — 

" Nay, hear me ! hear me !" she cried, 
struggling though but feebly to disengage 
herself, " Frederic, dear Frederic, hear me !" 

" Bless you for those sweet vsrords . . . !" 

" I cannot — I never will leave my grand- 
father — how could I, when he is so afflicted V 

There was a pause of a few moments. 
Frederic's countenance fell. 

" Not now, perhaps ! but after a time — 
Surely . . . ," 

" I could not leave the dear old man with- 
out some one to watch over him — to minister 
to him in his declining years. Think what he 
has lost ! Evelyn is away, and she may never 
return — or she may marry. — Oh, Frederic ! 
he has cherished me from childhood, and I 
cannot desert him now ! You could not wish 
me to do so." 

" And will you never be mine, then, Helen ? 
— Alas ! you cannot really love me." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 319 

" Do not grieve me by such words," she 
cried, in a broken voice — " Oh Frederic, be 
generous ! Help me against myself — against 
my own weakness. — Do not make my trial 
harder by doubting me. Have I not con- 
fessed ?" 

*' You have — you have ! — You do love me ! 
— Tell me so but once more, and I will bear 
all — any thing you wish, and think right. I 
will leave you to-morrow, if you like." 

" Alas ! if you knew how my heart sinks 
at the idea of your going, you would not 
doubt my love ! I require all my strength to 
bear up against it — all my...." 

The door opened, and Mrs. Harry entered, 
with a species of white dressing-gown loosely 
thrown around her person, looped up at 
various points with what she was pleased to 
call " des agraffes'" — in reality brooches com- 
posed of Scotch pebbles. She had on a pair 
of black silk stockings, and her hair was what 
she called " epars " on her shoulders. 



320 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

^'Ahfa /" cried she ; " I am in convulsion ! 
Je viens de tuer une jeune fille, et un enfant 
en has age V 

" What are you talking ahout, sister?" ex- 
claimed Frederic, very impatiently, for he 
was provoked beyond endurance at the inter- 
ruption. 

" Ah ! they suffer torments unknown ! A 
carriage smash them in the great road ! break 
the arm and knock out the teeth of the young 
person, and cut the child in three piece — 
Ah I mais c^est inoui /.. ." 

" Heavens ! let us send assistance !" cried 
Helen, rushing to the bell. " When did it 
happen ? — where are they V 

" Where are they ! Mais, par exemple, 
they are in my room, Ici Jiaut, I kill them 
upstairs in de chintz turret. Le cceur de 
cette jeune personne avoit trop tot parte ! — 
But what is this? // 7ne semble que vous 
pleurez ! — What is it you do together in this 
Piece?" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 321 

" Do not give yourself any uneasiness about 
that, sister," returned Frederic, abruptly. 
** You had better go and kill some more 
women and children in the chintz tur- 
ret !" 

" No ; I make Anastasie Leopoldine live ! 
She marry Victor Alphonse de Saint Amedee, 
and have twins fine as the day — beaux comme 
le jour ! But / stay here ! I like to hear 
your discourse." 

" You will do no such thing, if you please, 
sister. Miss Eridge and I do not wish our 
discourse overheard." 

"Ah ! ah ! you are talking to her of love, 
I imagine myself! Cest-il clair, pa V 

" Whatever I am talking about, it does not 
concern you. Sister, sister, do not provoke 
me !" 

"Nay, Frederic," gently interposed Helen, 
" do not let us treat Mrs. Eridge with such 
want of confidence. Why should we conceal 
from her what she has a right to know ? I 

P 5 



322 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

am sure she will enter into ray feelings, and 
approve...." 

" Ah ! what is all that galimatias f " 

" The truth is, sister, since you must know 
it, that I have proposed to Miss Eridge, 
and ...." 

" He has not been refused !" said Helen, 
smiling. 

But she was cut short by a perfect torrent 
of volubility. 

" You propose to this young person ! Ah ! 
but it is absolutely unknown! — this young 
person, that have not the penny — that 
make tea in the saloon ! But I won't 
suffer it. No ! my word of honour, it shan't 
do itself! Ah petite morveuse, vous avez 
osL.r 

*' Silence !" cried Frederic, passionately ; 
but Mrs. Harry was not to be silenced. 

" You dare to make yourself his promised ! 
to think of espousing him ! Ah ! my ills of 
nerves ! ah !...." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 323 

" You had better go, Helen !" said Frederic. 
" Leave her to me. Send her daughters here, 
my love, if you can find them, and leave us to- 
gether." 

" Be gentle with her, Frederic," whispered 
Helen. *' Do not let her provoke you. She 
cannot part us, you know — she cannot alter 
our hearts to each other. For my sake, be 
forbearing !" 

Frederic found it no easy matter, however, 
to be forbearing, even for her sake. The 
scene that followed baffles all description. 
Never had Mrs. Eridge yielded to the im- 
pulses of her ungovernable temper in the pre- 
sence of her brother as she did on this occa- 
sion. She abused him — she argued — she en- 
treated ; and when entreaties proved vain, 
she had recourse to threats. Still, he re- 
mained unmoved. He answered quietly that 
nothing could alter his determination. " His 
heart had long been Helen's ; and, whether 
she became his wife or not, hers it should ever 



324 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

continue. None but she should ever receive 
his faith or his hand !" 

At length, when the lady had fairly ex- 
hausted her invectives, she had recourse to 
those faithful and long-tried friends, her nerves. 
Hysteric succeeded to hysteric — foiblesse to 
foiblesse, but still the obdurate Frederic 
showed no symptom of relenting. Finding 
that her daughters did not appear, he quietly 
rang the bell; and, when the servant an- 
swered it, desired that Mrs. Harry's maid 
should be summoned ; — and no sooner had 
she made her appearance, than he delivered 
his shrieking sister into her charge, and him- 
self very composedly left the room. 

When he was fairly out of hearing, Mrs. 
Harry began to recover surprisingly. She 
reflected that much might yet be done to 
prevent this hateful alliance. The girl her- 
self might perhaps be influenced ; and, at 
any rate, the consent of the grandfather had 
yet to be obtained. Now, it was not very 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 325 

likely lie would give it easily ; for, indepen- 
dently of any dislike of his own to losing 
Helen, it was a match he could hardly ap- 
prove in any way. Frederic, though not so 
totally unprovided for as his brothers and 
sisters, had still but a mere pittance besides 
his pay, for his liberality to his own family 
had of course prevented his ever saving any- 
thing. His regiment too had only just gone 
to Canada, where it would remain some years, 
and he had no future prospects — no expecta- 
tions whatever. Mr. Eridge never could con- 
sent to such a marriage — it was impossible ! 

Acting, as she always did, on the impulse 
of the moment, Mrs. Harry sprang from the 
sofa, and, hastily re-arranging the folds of the 
drapery around her person, darted at once to 
the private room of her father-in-law. 

The poor old man was seated at his writing- 
desk, engaged in a melancholy though not an 
unpleasing occupation. He was reading over 
some of the letters he had at various times 



326 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

received from his lost wife. The collection 
was a small one, for this faithful and primitive 
couple had been but rarely separated during 
their married life ; but the few letters that 
he did possess spoke volumes for the tender- 
ness of that love, of which her whole life had 
been one abiding proof. 

The old man was so absorbed in this occu- 
pation, that he did not hear Mrs. Harry's 
agitated tap at the door. It was, however, 
so impatiently repeated, that he started, the 
letter fell from his hand ; and before he had 
time to remove his spectacles and wipe away 
the drops that had gathered to his eyelids, the 
unwelcome figure of his daughter-in-law pre- 
sented itself. 

She dashed into the room and subject at 
once. Without the smallest preparation, and, 
strange to say, with very little interlarding of 
French, she informed the old man of what 
she termed the shameful conduct of her bro- 
ther and Miss Bridge. She inveighed against 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 327 

their slyness in having carried on a private 
understanding so long, and even during " the 
late melancholy circumstances, without any 
one suspecting it ; and appealed to Mr. 
Bridge, whether it were a marriage that ought 
to be permitted ! 

"As for Frederic, his family had other 
views for him — they all looked to him to 
build up again his impoverished race. Ad- 
mired, sought, run after as he was, they all 
looked to him to make a brilliant, and, above 
all, a wealthy alliance. And, as for Miss 
Helen, who that cared for her could wish to 
see her banished to a distant country — ex- 
posed to poverty, trial, and privations of all 
kinds — she, who had been brought up in the 
very lap of luxury? She would probably 
starve in Canada, with three or four children 
en has age, and it would kill her dear old 
grandfather to hear of it !" 

Her dear old grandfather, though not killed 
by such melancholy prospects, was certainly 



3*28 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

struck dumb by the torrent of eloquence 
that poured with such resistless fury from Mrs. 
Harry's lips. He was unable to follow the 
rapidity of her reasoning or of her invectives, 
yet he contrived to gather something of the 
matter in hand from what fell from her. He 
saw that she was angry — that she thought 
her brother had behaved infamously ; though 
in what manner, unless it were in loving 
Helen (a very natural and excusable crime, in 
Mr. Bridge's opinion), he was at a loss to 
discover. 

In the mean time, he listened to all that 
the angry lady had to say with an attention 
that convinced her she had gained her point. 
And under this consoling impression she gra- 
dually calmed herself, and, resuming her 
French manner and phraseology, swept out of 
the room, to introduce into her novel an in- 
teresting and graphic description of two 
lovers parted by a tyrannical and cruel father, 
and driven in despair to elope from his house. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 329 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Et ma fille, en un mot, tu peux I'aimer, et me plaire. 

CORNEILLE. 

Say what thou canst, Til go along with thee. 

As You Like it. 

" Yes, mj children, be happy !" said the 
old man, wipin<r away a tear that was stealing 
down his furrowed cheek, for he was thinking 
of one who would have rejoiced to see that 
day — " be happy ! God has given you to each 
other, for he has made you to love one another; 
and it were ingratitude to reject such a bles- 
sing as this mutual love and trust shall be to 
you both through life." 

As he spoke, he laid his venerable hand on 
Helen's head, and gently stroked her long, 
fair ringlets. 

" God be with you, my dear !" said he ; 



330 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

"you have been a good child to me, and you 
will be a good wife to him, no doubt .... And 
you, sir, be kind and tender to her ; for she 
has led a happy life till now " 

Helen looked up in his face, and her eyes 
swam with tears. 

" I have no fear of him !" said she...." But, 
dear grandpapa, how can you ever go with us 
— all that way?" 

" My dear, I will go, if you do not think 
me too old and troublesome ! It will cheer 
my latter days to see you happy ; and as for 
the old place, it is become sad to me now — it 

speaks to me as yet too forcibly of her! In 

time, no doubt, in time, this recollection will 

wear off, and then But it will be young 

Harry's before long, at any rate, so let him 
live at it before it becomes his own, and learn 
to love it as I did, when I was young as he !" 

It was even so ! The old man had sought 
out Frederic Percy immediately after Mrs. 
Harry's disclosures, and applied to him for an 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 331 

explanation of her strange conduct and her 
violence. Frederic frankly confessed the 
whole — his own love, how earnest, how un- 
changeable; his recent conversation with 
Helen, and her admission that he was not 
wholly indifferent to her. Then came the 
only obstacle — for Frederic would not admit 
of any other — and after considerable difficulty 
and many questions, the old man at length 
succeeded in worming out of him that that 
obstacle was no other than himself. His child 
would not be induced to leave him — not even 
to marry the man she loved ! 

His resolution was almost immediately 
taken ; — he would go with them, even across 
the Atlantic. He would not mar their hap- 
piness — he would rather increase it. His in- 
come should assist their straitened means ; 
where they went, he would go — their country 
should henceforth be his country — and their 
home his home ! 

They hesitated long — they felt it was such 



S32 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

a hard thing to draw him from his own tran- 
quil fireside to a distant land, where no face 
would meet his eye but the face of strangers 
— no hand be stretched forth to welcome the 
beloved of many hearts. They thought of his 
bereavement — his advanced years — his fond- 
ness for his ancestral trees — for the abode of 
his forefathers — and their hearts smote them ! 
But he would listen to no objections, to no re- 
monstrances — he had taken his resolution. If 
they would bear with his infirmities, if they 
would not consider him too great a burden, he 
would go with them. He could always return 
again, if the climate disagreed with him, or if 
he felt a wish to see the old place once more. 
They saw he was determined ; so they 
ceased to combat his resolution. He had evi- 
dently set his heart on this marriage, and 
would allow no impediment that could be set 
aside, to prevent, or even postpone it. And, 
after all, there was still an interval — a breath- 
inof-time, before Frederic must leave his native 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 333 

land ; and who could tell what might not in- 
tervene to prevent the necessity of his leaving 
it at all ? In short, they were ready enough 
to hope even against probability, since to do 
so was favourable to the fulfilment of their 
wishes — and to believe that the old man only 
spoke the truth when he assured them in the 
fulness of his heart that it was their bounden 
duty to marry, if only for his sake. 

Mrs. Harry was perfectly thunderstruck at 
the intelligence that now burst upon her, not 
only of the cordial consent of Mr. Eridge to 
her brother's suit, but of his determination to 
accompany the young couple to Canada him- 
self, whenever Frederic should be compelled 
to join his regiment there. 

It were vain to attempt to describe the 
scenes, the attaques de nerfs and foiblesses, 
that ensued upon the shock of this announce- 
ment, so very different a denouement from 
what she had expected would result from her 
impressive and eloquent communications to 



334 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

her " respectable heau-pere'' That he must 
be mad to sanction so foolish and imprudent a 
connexion, there could not be a doubt ; but, 
unfortunately, she was utterly powerless to 
control or oppose either his madness or that 
of her brother, who it was very evident was 
determined to take his own course in the 
matter, without reference or deference to her 
feelings. All she coald do, therefore, was to 
make a point of looking as cross and melan- 
choly as possible, whilst the rest of the family 
were rejoicing at the happy prospects of the 
lovers ; and to scold her unfortunate daugh- 
ters from morning till night, for daring to be 
glad that their favourite Miss Eridge was to 
become their aunt ! 

A discovery, however, which she made 
shortly afterwards, tended in some measure to 
alter her views, and to induce her to think 
that she had better change her tone somewhat 
upon the subject of this marriage. It appeared 
that Helen, whom she had always believed to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 335 

be without a penny, was in reality entitled 
to no inconsiderable portion, after all. She 
would have rather more than twenty thousand 
pounds, either on her own coming of age, or 
on her grandfather's death, whichever event 
happened first. This sum was the accumula- 
tion of her father's savings, for the whole of 
his landed property had been entailed away 
from her ; which circumstance, having been 
known to occasion him very great annoyance 
during his lifetime, had perhaps naturally 
enough given rise to the impression that his 
daughter was unprovided for. Certain it was 
that even Helen herself had not till now been 
aware of the extent of her own fortune ; and 
delightful indeed was it to a noble and devoted 
spirit like hers to be able to bestow it all 
upon her lover, who, had he possessed ten 
thousand times as much, would, she well knew, 
have too gladly laid the whole at her feet. 
And now, but for him, this money would have 
been valueless in her eyes ; but, for his sake, 



336 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and as facilitating their union, it did indeed 
at once acquire an inestimable value. 

This news, which was quite as unexpected 
to Frederic himself as to Mrs. Eridge, cer- 
tainly did wonders in altering the conduct 
and views of that lady respecting the contem- 
plated alliance. She began to think that she 
had been somewhat too hasty in her judg- 
ments, and that it was not so very bad a parti 
for her brother, after all. Twenty thousand 
pounds was a good round sum ; and the young 
person was '^fraiche, rondelette, et d'une taille 
enchanter esse. Ses yeuw^fendus en amande, 
etoient ravissans d' amour et de volupte, et il 
y avoit une noblesse infinie dans la coupe de 
son nez, et le contour de sa tete /" In short, 
she was capable of being made almost any- 
thing of — perhaps even a femme elegante in 
the end... .if she would but abandon herself to 
the instructions of her future sister-in-law, 
and, above all, for ever give up the abominable 
custom of making tea in the saloon. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 337 

From that time, Mrs. Harry began to treat 
*' la jeune Bridge " with infinitely more de- 
ference and attention than she had ever done 
before ; and even condescended to inform her 
that she had put her into her novel under the 
name of Desiree Hortenfie Celestine Cherie 
de Id Sablonniere Morian, jeune personne tres 
distinguee, d'une figure ravissante, et d'mi 
caractere angelique, dont le cceur avoit dejd 
parle avec force.'" 

There was nothing connected with her en- 
gagement that gave Helen more unmixed de- 
light than to be able to announce it to Evelyn, 
which she did the very day it was actually 
entered into. She counted the days before 
her letter could be received with the most 
eager impatience. Now, at least, Evelyn's 
unjust suspicions, her unreasonable jealousy, 
would have an end — now, she must acknow- 
ledge that she had been blinded by passion 
and prejudice, and she would once more re- 
store her confidence and her affection to the 

VOL. I. Q 



338 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

friend of her early youth. Oh, what a de- 
lightful thought for Helen, who had actually 
drooped under the consciousness of their 
estrangement, like a flower that pines for the 
soft airs and cheering light of heaven ! 

Of course, no obstacles were thrown in the 
way of the marriage by any of Frederic Percy's 
relations. They were overjoyed at the pro- 
spect of his connecting himself so advantage- 
ously, and congratulations and good wishes 
poured in from all quarters. He wrote to 
petition for an extension of leave, which in 
due time was granted, and everything now 
conspired to minister to the happiness of that 
delicious breathing-time, the period of court- 
ship — a period often of more exquisite enjoy- 
ment than any other, for then happiness 
unspeakable is attained, yet happiness still 
greater is in store, to long for and aspire to ! 

END OF VOL. I. 



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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA 



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